DeKALB – Some residents in DeKalb County believe barriers such as income and racial discrimination are inhibiting their ability to attain fair housing.
According to the 2019 Fair Housing Survey results released by the city of DeKalb, 75% of residents surveyed said they have experienced discrimination in housing, and 79% said that discrimination has occurred in apartments by landlords or property managers.
Residents were also given the opportunity to provide comment at the end of the survey, and topics varied from taxation in DeKalb County and crime affecting safe housing options for lower-income individuals to needing more affordable housing for seniors and neglect by property managers who aren’t held accountable by city officials.
Documents show 183 people responded to the survey, less than 1% of the county’s population. Not everyone answered all 14 questions.
“Fair housing is the key to healthy neighborhoods,” reads one comment from the survey results.
Another read, “I think DeKalb has an overabundance of Section 8 housing.”
Some addressed the number of rental properties surrounding Northern Illinois University.
“College students are definitely at a disadvantage when it comes to fair housing,” a comment reads. “We do not make very much money especially at DeKalb’s minimum wage rate.”
Of the 155 people who answered the question, 61% of them believe significant barriers to fair housing exist in DeKalb County.
When asked to describe the discrimination, 39% of responses said they experienced housing discrimination based on race, 27% based on source of income and age, 21% based on disability and 18% based on marital status.
Of those who elected to be identified by their ethnicity, 60% replied they were white and 33% replied they were black, with the majority responses coming from the 25 to 34 age group.
The majority of those who filled out the survey said their income was less than $10,000.
“In DeKalb, low-income housing is almost universally substandard, unsafe, and very high density,” one comment read. “This isn’t fair to anyone.”
On Friday, a public meeting was held at the DeKalb Municipal Building to review the results of the survey, which will be used to help guide the city and the DeKalb County Housing Authority in analyzing current issues and to formulate actions to address barriers that are identified.
Source: The Daily Chronicle