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WASHINGTON – Persons living with mental illness, intellectual or other developmental disabilities continue to face significant housing discrimination in the rental housing market, according to a new pilot study released today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Rental Housing Discrimination on the Basis of Mental Disabilities: Results of Pilot Testing finds that when compared to people without mental disabilities, those persons who are living with mental disabilities receive fewer responses to their rental inquiries, are informed of fewer available units, and are less likely to be invited to contact the housing provider. In addition, HUD’s study found that they are less likely to be invited to tour an available unit, are more likely to be steered to a different unit than the one advertised, and are treated differently depending on their type of disability.

The study also examined what happens when a person with a mental disability makes a request for a reasonable accommodation, finding that a large percentage of people with mental disabilities were given a negative response to their requests, ranging from outright denials to subtler barriers.

“Today’s study spotlights the types of discrimination people with mental disabilities experience when searching for housing,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “The findings will not only inform our enforcement efforts, but enable us to identify and remove barriers for those who face housing discrimination. Though nearly 30 years have passed since the Fair Housing Act was expanded to protect individuals with disabilities, we still have work to do to ensure equitable housing opportunities for all.”

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