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Cityscape: Volume 17 Number 3 | Article 4


The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Housing Discrimination Today

Volume 17, Number 3

Mark D. Shroder

Michelle P. Matuga

Targeting Disability Discrimination: Findings and Reflections From the National Study on Housing Discrimination Against People Who Are Deaf and People Who Use Wheelchairs

Claudia L. Aranda
Urban Institute


This article highlights the use of the paired-testing methodology to measure housing discrimination against people with disabilities, with special emphasis on the complexities of conducting disability-based testing. It presents findings from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-sponsored Housing Discrimination Study-Disabilities, which has produced the first national estimates of discrimination in the rental housing market against people who are deaf or hard of hearing and people who use wheelchairs. The results show that people who are deaf or hard of hearing face barriers during the homeseeking process, including communicating with housing providers and learning about available units. People who use wheelchairs face barriers at several points in the process, including finding accessible units, securing appointments with providers and being shown units, and receiving a definite response to their reasonable modification requests. In both studies, testers posed as well-qualified rental homeseekers with the same qualifications and needs. Future paired-testing studies could help produce additional evidence on the homeseeking experiences of people who are deaf or hard of hearing and people who use wheelchairs, including those who are less qualified. Additional testing studies should also focus on the compliance of the current housing stock to the design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Act. Such findings could help provide critical information about where the need for accessible rental housing is greatest.

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