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More Action Is Needed to Address Housing Discrimination Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

The conclusion of Fair Housing Month and beginning of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month provide an important opportunity to consider the barriers to equal opportunity that have long been faced by Asian Americans. Although the past year brought increased attention on anti-Asian racism, the “othering” of Asian Americans has contributed to disinvestment in historically Asian communities, displacement of longtime residents, and discrimination.    

Some forms of discrimination are not readily apparent, even to those it affects. Housing discrimination based on race is a case in point. It has been illegal for decades—this April marks the 53rd anniversary the Fair Housing Act, which former President Johnson signed into law on April 11, 1968—yet it persists.

The Urban Institute’s national studies of housing discrimination have documented differential treatment of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), compared with white Americans, in rental and sales markets. For these studies, two testers—one AAPI and one white—posed as equally qualified homeseekers and responded to advertisements for available properties to rent or purchase. Testers attempted to secure an in-person appointment and then meet with a housing provider to learn about and see available units. Testers never signed or otherwise entered into any legally binding agreement for renting or buying a unit.

Read more from the Urban Institute here>>>