Survey shows Columbia residents worry about housing discrimination

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COLUMBIA - A city survey shows 56 percent of respondents housing discrimination exists in Columbia.

The report comes from a 23 question survey asking about discrimination and safety in the city. The results are expected to be discussed Monday at a meeting for the Fair Housing Task Force.

The task force was created a year ago and was assigned to gather and review fair housing data to provide recommendations for fair housing policies.

Housing discrimination is not just about race. The report says people believe they were discriminated for age, disability, sexual orientation, family status and source of income as well.

Respondents to the city survey said single-family neighborhoods are the most common site of housing discrimination.

Fifty-five percent said Columbia should be doing more to address better integrating the population.

More than half said they feel unsafe in some neighborhoods.

Some people in the disabled community have said they face discrimination because of the need for emotional and medical support animals. Many apartment complexes and landlords do not allow pets on their property.

Katie Kinder said, even with a note from a doctor, her landloard in Boonville would not allow her to have a service dog.

"Some places have a pet policy," she said. "They won't understand what it's like to have a service animal. They don't realize it's a moment of life and death."

The survey's results come 50 years after the Fair Housing Act made housing discrimination illegal.