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Cityscape: Volume 17 Number 3 | Article 3


Housing Discrimination Today

Volume 17, Number 3

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

Changing Contexts and New Directions for the Use of Testing

Fred Freiberg
Fair Housing Justice Center

Gregory D. Squires
George Washington University


For decades, testing has been an effective investigative tool for documenting housing discrimination in fair housing enforcement efforts and scholarly research. This article discusses evidence gathered from recent testing investigations in the New York City region and how many violators of fair housing laws have tailored their practices to elude detection. Some changes in housing provider practices portend serious challenges for researchers and enforcement practitioners who have traditionally relied only on paired testing methodologies to identify discriminatory housing practices. In view of these changes, we offer guidance on preliminary steps that might develop credible testing approaches for the purpose of investigating or studying contemporary housing market practices. We provide some recommendations for structural changes and suggest new directions for both research and enforcement organizations. We submit that efforts to eliminate discrimination from our nation’s housing markets would be greatly enhanced if we better understood housing provider practices and the changing nature of housing discrimination.

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