Suffolk County is partnering with the Long Island Housing Partnership and ERASE Racism to provide fair housing training, education and outreach services in an effort to combat housing discrimination on Long Island.
The two Long Island-based nonprofit organizations will reach out to housing consumers, providers, minorities and protected classes to ensure that rights are being protected and that fair housing laws are being adhered to, according to the county’s Thursday, October 22, announcement of their selection.
The initiative is in response to the results of a Newsday investigation into discriminatory practices in real estate sales, such as racial steering — directing buyers to or away from certain neighborhoods based on their race. The investigation tested 93 real estate agents and found evidence of some form of discrimination 19 percent of the time against Asian testers, 39 percent of the time against Hispanic testers and 49 percent of the time against Black testers. Dubbed “Long Island Divided,” the outcome of the investigation was published in November last year.
“The results of the three-year Newsday investigation that shined a light on a dark corner of the real estate industry were disturbing and unacceptable,” County Executive Steve Bellone said in a statement. “Almost immediately after this report was published we took corrective action, and today we are working to fulfill our promise to create real change for our communities and ensure this unequal treatment is no longer perpetuated.”
The Long Island Housing Partnership and ERASE Racism, were selected after responding to a request for quotes issued by the county earlier this year to establish a list of qualified fair housing providers that will educate residents and businesses on their rights and responsibilities under fair housing laws.
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