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Ending Housing Discrimination in the AAPI Community in the Rental and Home buying Process

Homeownership Program

The Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) released its 2021 state of Asia America report, and found that while Asia Americans in the U.S. have a household income of $93,759-35% higher than the national average-only 60.6% of Asian Americans are homeowners. “The 2021 State of Asia America report showcases how the AAPI community has continued its movement across the country. But even with factual evidence of greater income than the general population, our homeownership rate remains surprisingly low, “AREAA president Amy Kong, co-founder of Trust Real Estate in San Francisco said. According to the AREAA report, the Asian American population was hit hard by COVID, particularly through job loss. Another difficulty is bias in housing which is something that must be remedied not only through fair housing regulation, but also in how we conduct business and how systemic racism is addressed.

The AREAA report shows that in the first quarter of 2021, the U.S. Department of housing and Urban Development saw a 30% increase in complaints of housing discrimination, with approximately 10% of those complaints involving some aspect of connecting COVID-19 to the person’s ethnicity.

“We also are working hard on overcoming language barriers, especially when it comes to the paperwork involved in real estate transactions. But now we have to overcome even more,” added Kong. “it will be interesting to see how the added stressors impact on the AAPI homeownership rate which had seen a steady rise from 53.7% in the second quarter of 2016 to 61.4% four years later only to fall to 59.6% through the first quarter of 2021.”

Also in the studies documented by the Urban Institute’s national studies of housing discrimination have shown differential treatment of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), compared with white Americans, in rental and sales markets. In the studies, the two testers-one AAPI and one white-posed as equally qualified home seekers 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.

The studies showed that AAPIs were treated less favorably compared to the white people when searching for housing. In the most recent study, AAPI tester were told about 9.8 percent fewer available rental properties than comparably qualified white counterparts and were shown 6.6 percent fewer units. The difference in treatment was especially notable in the sales market, where testing found that AAPI tester were told about 15.5 percent fewer available properties for sale than their white counterparts and were shown 18.8 percent fewer properties. The difference in treatment were found across the country.

The discrimination in housing markets has been worsen by the myth that Asian Americans are not discriminated against. Because of this assumption it has also influence how policymakers shape a range of housing related policies.

Marcia Fudge, US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) stated that her priorities include working to end housing discrimination. This commitment would bring much needed support and attention to equal access to housing.

According to the report released by the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development and the council for Native Hawaiian Advancement titled Asian American & Pacific Islander Anti-Displacement Strategies provides 24 local strategies to prevent displacement of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) families resulting from rising housing costs and gentrification.

The report recommends a number of national policy solutions, including greater public resources for affordable housing through a cross-agency hot makers program designed to address displacement of low income renters and small businesses, steps to ensure greater equity in transit-oriented development, meaningful community planning engagement, and mitigation of climate change displacement. The report calls for a national section 8 stabilization program that increases vouchers in hot market cities and protect tenants’ rights to remain, guidance defining hot market neighborhoods under the Affirmatively Fathering Fair Housing rule, and increased revenue sources for the national Housing Trust Fund for additional affordable housing development in hot markets.



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