clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

City launches outreach campaign as housing discrimination against immigrants rises

Cases of housing discrimination based on immigration status have more than doubled since 2015

Woodside, Queens.
Curbed Flickr Pool/Stefan Schack

Housing discrimination against immigrants is up nearly 40 percent from 2015 to 2016, and according to DNAInfo, the city is taking action.

Representatives from the city’s Commission on Human Rights and the Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs are “stepping up outreach to the community.” Following a rally on Tuesday, agency reps handed out fliers in English and Spanish at the Roosevelt Avenue subway station in Jackson Heights outlining information about renters’ legal rights.

The numbers paint a grim picture: Cases of housing discrimination based on not only immigration status but also on national origin has more than doubled between 2015 and 2016, DNAInfo reports.

Looking only at cases of discrimination based immigration status—like the Corona landlord who announced he wouldn’t re-sign leases until tenants showed their papers —the stats are even starker. The agency investigated 31 cases of possible discrimination in NYC in 2016. In 2015, they investigated a grand total of two.

The city’s Human Rights Law is supposed to protect residents against discrimination based on immigration status (as well as age, race, disability, gender, sexual orientation, and others), but officials and activists say a combination of landlords looking to raise rents and the current political climate has led to a spike in cases of reported discrimination.

"We definitely see tenant harassment as a problem across all protected categories, and I think that's more related to the affordability," Hollis Pfitsch, the deputy commissioner for the Commission on Human Rights' legal division, said after Tuesday’s rally.

In light of the Corona case, Governor Cuomo ordered an investigation into whether landlords are discriminating against immigrants state-wide.