Housing Discrimination in Westchester County Area

J Philip Faranda January 26, 2011

The Journal News has published a report on housing discrimination in Westchester, Putnam and Rockland Counties. The results are awful. A study conducted in 2010 found that in 17.5% of the instances of study conducted by Westchester Residential Opportunities that discrimination occurred. In 2005 a HUD-funded study found discrimination in a whopping 46.5% of the cases. While the report framed the numbers as an improvement, I view the numbers as relative in the context of awful. 

I remember the 2005 reports, which resulted in publicized complaints against some real estate firms published in the newspaper. I remember reading the piece online in a library in Binghamton, NY while waiting for my brother to complete dialysis after his 25th college reunion at Cornell. This was a few weeks before launching my firm, and I recall being perplexed at how such a thing could happen in 2005. 

The current report has resulted in complaints filed against 4 firms- three brokerages and one management company. They found numerous other firms to be engaging in "bad business" which may not rise to outright discrimination, but who wants bad business practices? 

The numbers in Putnam county showed discrimination in 14.3% of the cases. In Rockland, the number was a staggering 34.6%. Three of the four complaints, according to the story, were against Rockland based firms. 

I have read the report, which will be sent to every licensee in my firm. It is very thorough, the methodologies for the study were clear hard to refute. My conclusion is that huge amounts of fair housing education are in order for our entire industry. 

The point here is not to avoid getting caught, it is for our industry to be the guarantors of equal housing to those who hire us. 

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