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> Analysis of Impediments

Executive Summary

Purpose
The purpose of Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI) is to identify practices and conditions in the City of Ithaca that are impeding housing opportunities for residents because of their race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin or other “protected class” status. Fair housing impediments include direct discriminatory actions, omissions or decisions related to membership in a protected class, or indirect actions, omissions or decisions that have the effect of restricting housing choices for people specifically because of their protected class membership.

The City is required by the Fair Housing Act to “Affirmatively Further Fair Housing” and for that purpose, this AI identifies fair housing choice constraints and offers planning strategies that can be incorporated into other community planning and development processes and decisions. Furthermore, this study is required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a condition for receiving federal housing funds, and should be completed in coordination with the City’s five-­‐year “Consolidated Plan” that describes how those funds will be spent, so that the City can show that it understands the various direct and indirect impediments to fair housing choice and is actively working to eliminate discriminatory practices and disparate outcomes.

Overview of Study
The City of Ithaca contracted with the Tompkins County Office of Human Rights to complete an AI for the City. The AI combines data available from a wide variety of sources, including population, demographic, economic and housing data from the City of Ithaca, U.S. Census Bureau, the American Community Survey, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the New York State Division of Human Rights (SDHR), the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, and the Tompkins County Departments of Planning, Social Services, and the Office for the Aging.

This data review and analysis was combined with information gathered during a series of fair housing choice initiatives — including focus groups with housing and social service professionals, two fair housing choice surveys of residents and local disenfranchised populations, and a fair housing testing project. The information that was gathered and the data that was analyzed point to a set of at-­‐risk groups and possible impediments.

This report, however, makes a distinction between direct impediments (those that directly impact a protected class) and indirect impediments (those that may be a concern but cannot be directly linked to any particular protected group). For example, the lack of affordable housing is generally a barrier for all low-­‐income people, regardless of protected class; therefore, in this AI the affordability of housing in Ithaca is viewed as an indirect impediment to fair housing choice. Furthermore, each identified impediment is supported by a number of observations that when considered collectively, support the existence of the corresponding barrier to fair housing choice. The following impediments have equal weight and are not listed in any particular order. 

The full report may be downloaded by section, below: