The Iowa Civil Rights Commission is conducting a survey on housing discrimination. Executive Director Ralph Rosenberg says residents can complete the survey on the agency’s website or attend one of four upcoming public hearings.
"This is an effort to try to determine if there are any barriers or impediments to fair housing," Rosenberg said. "Then, we also want to determine the most effective ways in terms of addressing those. We want to see if there are problems…and if there are strengths or weaknesses in our effort to enforce fair housing laws." The online survey takes about five minutes to complete and is offered in English or Spanish through September 1st.
A summary of the surveys will be released by the end of September. "And we’ll hopefully be able to reach some, at least tentative conclusions and move accordingly," Rosenberg said. The commission reviews around 120 to 140 housing discrimination cases per year.
"Historically, race and disability have been the two primary allegations for discrimination…sex and retaliation are a pretty close third," Rosenberg said. The public hearings are scheduled in the towns of Urbandale, Perry, Storm Lake and Marshalltown.
"We know several of these towns have had changes in their demographics and population," Rosenberg said. "Some of these towns have certainly seen an increase in the number of Latinos or other people from different countries moving into these towns and we feel this is a good way to check on the status of fair housing."
The Iowa Civil Rights Commission also has a booth at the Iowa State Fair’s Varied Industries Building where Iowans can share their experiences and suggestions.