In November 2015, a consortium of eight State and County agencies involved in Hawaii’s housing system contracted the UH Center on Disability Studies to conduct an analysis of impediments to fair housing choice. The study focused on impediments related to disabilities, because disability discrimination is by far the most common basis for fair housing complaints. Jurisdictions receiving Federal funds for housing are required to regularly submit such analyses to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and to provide a plan to reduce identified impediments. The study involved collecting and analyzing a broad range of information sources about housing in Hawaii, as well as interviewing several dozen personnel in the housing field and about 15 people with disabilities who had experienced difficulties in finding suitable housing. The results of the study clearly showed that people with disabilities at lower income levels tend to have great difficulty in finding housing that is both affordable and meets their individual housing needs, such as for wheelchair accessibility. Recommendations of the study report included enhanced education so landlords and tenants alike understand the requirements of the Fair Housing Act, improved services for the most vulnerable populations (such as homeless persons with psychiatric disorders and seniors with dementia conditions such as Alzheimer’s), and increased affordable housing stock that is physically accessible and also enables aging-in-place as people develop mobility and/or sensory disabilities.
Fair Housing Project Report (PDF Format)