Surry HOME Consortium Report

Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing

This report was developed by the Center for Housing and Community Studies (CHCS) in response to a request by the Piedmont Triad Regional Council. The project involved compiling, analyzing, and mapping local jurisdictional, state, and national data sources on residential housing disparities for the seven federally protected categories: Race, Color, Religion, Sex, Handicap, Familial Status, and National Origin. Local mortgage markets, house sales, public housing, voucher programs, market rental patterns, fair housing complaints, and other data points are referenced. Collection of primary data from stakeholders and key informants through public and stakeholder meetings and interviews aided in providing a comprehensive understanding of fair housing issues in the region. The analysis also included review of jurisdictions’ laws, regulations, and administrative policies, procedures, and practices and an assessment of how those laws, etc. affect the location, availability, and accessibility of housing.

Lack of affordable rental housing arose repeatedly in the data. More than a third of renters (37.7% or 7,351) were cost burdened (paying more than 30% of their income towards rent). Only 24.6% of all rentals are likely affordable for a 4-person family earning 30% of AMI between 2013-2017. This figure is lowest in Davie County where 19.8% are affordable at 30% AMI and highest in Surry where 29.6% are affordable at 30%AMI. Housing affordability repeatedly was discussed in focus groups, key informant interviews, and in survey comments.

We don’t have [housing] to access. The industry is not here. We don’t have the resources.

Lack of affordable single-family housing was also found in the data. About one-in-five homeowners (19.4%) were cost burdened. Only 22.7% of all single-family homes are likely affordable for a 4-person family earning 50% of AMI between 2013-2017.

Lack of awareness of fair housing laws and principals were evident in the survey of residents as well as interviews with key informants. There is a continuing need to educate persons about their rights under the Fair Housing Act and raise awareness of fair housing choice.

The HMDA mortgage data suggests that there is a disparity between the approval rates of home mortgage loans that are originated from white and minority applicants. Only 4.3% of loans applications in the Surry HOME jurisdiction were by non-white applicants and 27.8% were denied. Effectively, there was a 13.4% difference between loan approvals for non-white and white mortgage seekers. Access to credit and approval rates for all originated home mortgage loans should be fair, unbiased, and impartial throughout the jurisdiction, regardless of race and location.

These recommendations, taken together, suggest that fair housing enforcement in rural areas is a collaboration between local stakeholders with knowledge of cultural norms and the history of development within the community. In an environment where housing resources are largely decentralized, collaboration between agencies is important as it allows entities to cost-share and expand access to services. We have found that, based on information from the interviewees that fair housing policies, activities and enforcement differ significantly between and among urban, suburban, and rural areas of the jurisdiction. There is little or no proactive fair housing activity as evidenced by the lack of complaints. While many urban areas have educational outreach services and some level of investigation or enforcement, rural areas reported that enforcement of fair housing law is viewed as an anti-business activity and therefore such efforts are directly or indirectly discouraged. Regionalization in fair housing enforcement and planning were received positively by many key informants interviewed and is clearly supported by the findings of this report and the research literature.

Full Report Available at: Surry HOME AI – FINAL -VERSION 2.0