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Delaware housing agencies start process for new fair housing survey

Delaware Public Media

Agencies in the First State are taking another look at housing discrimination. The last study was done in 2011.

This new analysis looks at obstacles to free and equal access to housing in all three counties. The federal government requires states to ensure access isn’t restricted by characteristics like race, age, or gender.

The Delaware State Housing Authority’s Karen Horton said the 2011 findings included a lack of housing units for people with disabilities. Horton says that was addressed by offering developers incentives to build more of those units through federal tax credits.

“You’re required anyway to have 5 percent of your units be fully ADA accessible, but we added points that if you go up to 20 percent you’ll get more points,” she said.

Horton said the 2011 study also found language barriers to programs and services, prompting the state to translate documents into more languages. She said they’ve also contacted localities about problem zoning ordinances.

“We’ve been doing a lot of outreach to towns to let them know ‘Hey you may want to look at this, this is identified as being an impediment. You may want to take a look at it,'” she said.

The 2011 findings also called for a regional strategy to address historic segregation in the City of Wilmington.

A website where people can search for housing across the state was also created.

Horton said agencies will meet with underserved people and do focus groups as part of the new study, which is expected to conclude by next October.

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