Housing discrimination pervasive but subtle

Feb 13, 2014

Kisch says that testing, such as setting up a fake housing offer, is the only way to uncover illegal housing discrimination in cases of race and national origin.
Credit Flickr - YST

Housing discrimination is often difficult to even notice, much less prove. Landlords who don’t want to rent to someone based on their race, age, religion, disability or sexual orientation many times have what seem like legitimate excuses that are often delivered with a “smile and a handshake.”

Pam Kisch is the executive director of the Ann Arbor-based Fair Housing Center of Southeast Michigan, which investigates complaints of illegal housing discrimination in six counties, including Ingham. Last fall, the Fair Housing Center was awarded a $275,000 grant by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to reduce housing discrimination. Joining her is Lauretta Codrington, an Ann Arbor resident, whose experience in the early 1990's still highlights how housing discrimination based on race can occur.