On Tuesday, April 24, 2007, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) revealed the results of its recent investigation into race based rental discrimination in the New Orleans area, including Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, and St. Tammany Parishes. The investigation showed that 57.5% of landlords discriminated against African American testers searching for rental housing.
GNOFHAC conducted the investigation through the use of fair housing testing; a process whereby equally suited black and white testers attempt to apply for housing. GNOFHAC compared and contrasted tester experiences to determine whether or not discrimination occurred.
Testers encountered discrimination in various forms. For example, black testers were told apartments were not available when their white counterparts were told the same units were available; landlords provided black testers with less favorable terms and conditions for the rental of properties than their white counterparts; and in several instances, black testers did not receive promised return phone calls while the same landlords returned all calls of their white counterparts.
GNOFHAC Executive Director James Perry comments “We are disappointed to find such a high rate of discrimination in this investigation. However, the Fair Housing Action Center hopes that the study will inform housing consumers of their rights under fair housing laws. Equal access to housing is a civil right and an essential component in the rebuilding process. Housing providers should be aware that the Fair Housing Action Center will pursue enforcement of all violations covered by applicable fair housing laws.”
James Perry, executive director, with Lucia