Testing is designed to discover whether persons are being treated differently than other customers because of a protected personal characteristic such as race, sex, disability or familial status. In a typical housing test, persons of evenly matched qualifications but of different personal characterstics will inquire about an apartment or house for rent. The test contacts will be recorded by audio or video tape. The test coordinator will then compare the results of the individual tests to determine if there has been different treatment.


The purpose of testing is to check on compliance with the law, and to inform and educate. Persons or entities who are tested are notified of the results. If the person or organization "passed" the test they are notified and congratulated. If the test uncovers shortcomings or potential problems, educational materials and training sessions are offered. Complaints are not filed as a result of testing unless the person or organization is unwilling to recognize the need to correct their practices, or unless the incident is particularly blatant. Press releases are issued to inform the community of the tests and the results.


HUD Grant

The Commission's testing program received a big boost with the award of a grant from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the amount of $116,999. The purpose of the grant is to conduct housing tests on the bases of race, familial status, and disability in 51 communities around the state. The grant allowed for the hiring of test coordinators, per diem and expense payments to testers, and purchase of additional and more sophisticated electronic equipment.



At the end of the fiscal year, ten communities had been tested for a total of 160 individual housing tests. Eighteen tests uncovered actions that were questionable, that is things were said or done by the housing providers that could be viewed as discriminatory. This resulted in 14 complaints being filed.

Employment and public accommodations tests are also done as needed. This happens most often when a citizen alerts the Commission of an action by or policy of an employer or business which appears to be discriminatory. Several testing situations have also taken place as a result of requests from local commissions.