Northampton conducting survey on housing discrimination

  • Northampton City Hall GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 2/27/2019 3:01:52 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The city and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission are interested in hearing from people who feel they may have experienced housing discrimination in Northampton.

It is part of a study launched by the city and being conducted by the Northampton Housing Partnership and the commission to assess fair access to housing in Northampton, and the barriers to it.

The survey seeks to hear from those who live in the city as well as those who don’t live in Northampton but sought housing there, and those seeking to move into the city.

“We really want people to be treated fairly,” said Peg Keller, the Community Development Block Grant director in the mayor’s office.

Keller said that part of the reason for the survey is to identify where community education efforts for landlords and tenants should take place.

For instance, she said, it is illegal for landlords to not rent to people with young children, or to refuse Section 8 vouchers, but this information may not be widely known.

“We need to know what’s happening out there,” she said.

She also shared that lead paint abatement requirements can become a “silent discriminator” because it makes some landlords unwilling to rent to people with small children.

Keller said the survey has gotten about 100 responses so far. The survey is confidential and it is estimated to take 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

The English version of the survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/NoHoAI and the Spanish version can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NoHoAISp.

People in the community can also email Keller at pkeller@northamptonma.gov if they want a document emailed to them in order to have paper copies.

Keller said the commission and the Housing Partnership are interested in having all survey responses returned by March 30.

The results of the survey and additional findings will be presented at a public meeting on May 22 at 7 p.m. at the Senior Center.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.




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