May 5, 2023
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Releases Fair Housing Report Revealing Segregated Housing Patterns and Obstacles to Housing Opportunities Across New York

Governor Hochul Releases Fair Housing Report Revealing Segregated Housing Patterns and Obstacles to Housing Opportunities Across New York

Report Identifies Persistent Barriers to Housing That Disproportionately Impact Communities of Color, People with Disabilities, Older Adults, and Those with Limited English Proficiency

Recommends Specific Goals and Action Items to Remove Obstacles and Address Segregated Living Patterns Statewide

Builds on Governor's Commitment to Addressing Systemic Inequities in Housing

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the release of Fair Housing Matters NY, a comprehensive examination of housing segregation and discrimination in New York State. The report reveals the extent of New York's housing segregation and outlines eight primary goals aimed at eliminating the barriers that prevent too many New Yorkers from moving into the homes and neighborhoods of their choice.

"The work of undoing historic, systemic, and entrenched segregated living patterns and eliminating discrimination in housing will always be a priority of my administration," Governor Hochul said. "The findings in this report show that confronting these inequalities will require an aggressive multi-faceted approach. I look forward to working with our partners at the federal, state, and local levels to take the bold actions necessary to foster more diverse communities and create and preserve affordable housing for more New Yorkers."

The report, drafted by New York State Homes and Community Renewal's Fair and Equitable Housing Office and Office of Research and Strategic Analysis, found not only segregated housing patterns throughout New York, but also that access to community resources, poverty, and substandard housing conditions consistently fall along segregated racial and ethnic lines. The report also underscores other forms of segregation and inequitable access to resources beyond those centering on race and ethnicity. For example, older adults, those with limited English proficiencies, and those with disabilities also find themselves concentrated in areas of poverty with access to fewer community resources.

Some key findings:

  • Approximately one-third of New Yorkers live in highly white/nonwhite segregated counties, 44 percent living in such counties downstate.
  • Approximately 95 percent of Black/African American households in New York live in a county that is highly segregated between Black/African American and white households.
  • Two-thirds of white households own their homes, compared to only a third of Black/African American households and a quarter of Hispanic/Latinx households that own their homes.
  • Women and children experience poverty at higher rates in all regions of the state than men and adults.
  • Households containing a member with a disability are much more likely to be classified as extremely low-income.

The Fair Housing Matters NY initiative solicited input from community leaders, nonprofit organizations, housing professionals and residents on housing choice and access to housing opportunity. In addition to public surveys, which were made available in seven languages, HCR hosted a series of focus groups and resident engagement sessions to discuss fair housing issues.

This public input was vital to providing timely information that best reflects the housing landscape in New York. Participants offered tangible accounts of discriminatory real estate and lending practices; the impact of local zoning and land use policies that restrict housing choice; and the placement of affordable housing in lower-income areas of the state.

As a result of this public input, the report identifies eight goals and a multitude of action items that represent the ways New York can create more access to housing through a combination of market-driven, regulatory, financial, and administrative changes:

  • Build upon opportunities for wealth creation through affordable home ownership.
  • Increase access to suitable affordable housing for those with disabilities.
  • Create more affordable housing with avenues for community supports.
  • Remove barriers to housing by addressing redlining and disinvestment in neighborhoods.
  • Increase access to affordable housing by addressing barriers to housing choice.
  • Increase access to affordable housing through fair housing education and enforcement.
  • Promote development of affordable housing in areas where land use and development regulations provide barriers.
  • Implement environmental justice principles in state-funded housing in response to climate change.

Members of the public are encouraged to read the report, review the goals and action items, and participate in a 45-day comment period that ends on June 8, 2023 by emailing [email protected]. HCR will finalize the report after review and incorporation of the public comments, as appropriate.

Governor's Commitment to Fighting Housing Discrimination

Today's announcement is part of Governor Hochul's ongoing commitment to fighting systemic inequities and discrimination in housing. Earlier this year the Governor announced a $2.2 million expansion of New York's Fair Housing Testing Program designed to root out discrimination in home rental and sale transactions. New York is partnering with six nonprofit organizations across the state to deploy undercover testers to act as potential renters and home seekers. The expansion will increase the state's ability to proactively investigate suspected housing discrimination and to enhance education and outreach efforts on fair housing rights and requirements to landlords, tenants, real estate professionals, and local governments.

In December 2022, the Governor announced a Department of Financial Services report that found continued racial disparities in mortgage lending practices on Long Island, in Rochester and in Syracuse. The report was part of an ongoing statewide inquiry into redlining and followed another DFS study that identified redlining and other forms of housing discrimination by mortgage lenders, particularly non-depository lenders, in majority-minority neighborhoods in Buffalo. In August of the same year, Governor Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James acted to stop illegal and discriminatory housing practices at three Long Island real estate brokerages that were discriminating against Black, Hispanic, and other homebuyers of color, announcing settlements with the brokerages totaling more than $115,000.

And in December 2021, Governor Hochul signed into law nine fair housing bills designed to combat discriminatory housing practices that persist around the state. These bills included legislation to increase penalties for unlawful housing discrimination and creation of a fund to support fair housing testing. Another expands required trainings for real estate professionals on subjects such as legacy of segregation, unequal treatment, and historic lack of access to housing opportunities.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Affirmatively furthering fair housing also means tearing down arbitrary barriers to housing that are experienced disproportionately by communities of color, immigrants, victims of domestic violence, and other protected and vulnerable New Yorkers. Under Governor Hochul's leadership, we will continue to analyze and combat systemic inequities and housing discrimination that prevent too many New Yorkers from building wealth, accessing opportunities, and living in safe, affordable homes in the communities they choose."

New York State Division of Human Rights Commissioner Maria L. Imperial said, "As Governor Hochul and her administration is advocating for, we must use every measure at our disposal to afford fair housing for all. This comprehensive report from Homes and Community Renewal lays bare the stark reality of segregation and bias. Access to housing is a human right. The Division is dedicated to raising awareness of fair housing protections and holding those who violate these important laws accountable."

Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, "For far too long there have been inequalities in this process of buying or renting a house in communities that are still feeling the effects of decades-long discriminatory practices throughout the state. Thanks to Governor Hochul's unwavering commitment to eradicate housing discrimination in New York, the Fair Housing Matters NY report is outlining the goals to eliminate harmful biased practices and help create more diverse and inclusive communities."

New York State Chief Disability Officer Kimberly Hill Ridley said, "As Chief Disability Officer, my team and I are extremely proud to have developed a strong and collaborative relationship with New York State Homes and Community Renewal from the onset of opening our doors last February. I am confident that the goals we are pursuing together will go a long way towards improving the availability of accessible and affordable housing for people with disabilities and educate many along the way about this very important priority."

New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, "The lack of stable and affordable housing, driven by racial and other discrimination, is a primary contributor to the continuing crises of poverty and homelessness. With this report, Governor Hochul brings necessary attention to housing segregation and inequities and maps a plan of action to better address the housing needs of all New Yorkers."

New York State Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen said, "The New York State Office for the Aging applauds Governor Kathy Hochul and Commissioner Visnauskas for examining - and acting on - the inequities in housing due to a legacy of racial segregation and other forms of discrimination affecting groups like older adults. NYSOFA's recent community assessment survey of older adults found that more than half are shouldering monthly housing costs over $1,500, and nearly 40% say that they have trouble finding housing that suits their needs. The housing and tenant protections passed in this year's budget will go a long way in addressing these issues, and NYSOFA looks forward to likewise advancing this priority in the state's Master Plan for Aging process."

To view the full report, visit: hcr.ny.gov/fairhousingmattersny

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