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STUDY FINDS: AFRICAN AMERICAN RENTERS FACE HIGH RATE OF DISCRIMINATION IN NEW ORLEANS UPSCALE NEIGHBORHOODS

Posted on 06. Nov, 2014 by

On Thursday, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) released a new report revealing troubling levels of housing discrimination against African Americans in New Orleans’ high opportunity neighborhoods. The study, Where Opportunity Knocks the Doors Are Locked, found that African American mystery shoppers posing as prospective renters were either denied the opportunity to rent or received less favorable treatment than white mystery shoppers 44% of the time in New Orleans neighborhoods that offer high opportunity levels to families.

Equally qualified black and white testers with matching incomes, career paths, family types, and rental histories attempted to view and apply for 50 apartment units. The paired tests were designed to hold all variables constant except race.

Discrimination against African American testers took multiple forms, including:

  • Refusal to respond to African American testers’ inquiries
  • Giving African American testers the runaround
  • Providing favorable treatment and incentives to white testers, but not African American testers
  • Making stereotypical assumptions about African American testers

The test sites were concentrated in neighborhoods like Lakeview, East Carrollton, Uptown near Audubon Park, and Algiers Point. In addition to having less than 30% of families living in poverty, the neighborhoods where testing occurred also feature other notable demographic traits that contribute to resident health and quality of life. Specifically, residents in neighborhoods tested enjoy low violent crime levels, high levels of educational attainment, and high household income levels. All neighborhoods were also at least 70% white, much higher than the City overall (about 34% white).

GNOFHAC Executive Director James Perry states, “Fully qualified, African-American testers faced troubling challenges when attempting to rent in New Orleans’ neighborhoods of opportunity. We must reverse this trend to ensure all New Orleanians have a fair chance at prosperity and opportunity.”

For media inquiries, contact Kate Scott at kscott@gnofairhousing.org or 504-534-8312

Read the full report here.

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The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported, in part, by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication.  Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.

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