Reflecting on Historical Discrimination and Inequity in Housing

posted in: July 2020, Newsletter 0

Recent events have highlighted racist practices within the criminal justice system that need to change. Housing discrimination for people of color has also been a reality for hundreds of years. Laws have often been on the wrong side, offering little to no protection while promoting ongoing racist housing policies. Today in Howard Countymany protections are in place for renters. Yet discrimination still persists. Landlords can choose not to house a Black or Latinx household by changing criteria for them, requiring higher credit scores, or being stricter on background checks or rental history. Our staff experienced this firsthand recently when a landlord happily accepted a white client with many barriers, but when the white client backed out and a person of color was presented as a replacement, with fewer barriers and a higher incomesuddenly the unit wasn’t available anymore and another renter had already been found. Bridges has started to analyze our own programs more critically, to look at disparities within each program. We’re committed to working toward more equity and finding ways to address disparities when we find them. Landlord education is just one step. It is only through hard analysis at every level of society, that some of these persistent inequities can be addressed and changed. 

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