Testing Program

Underreporting of discrimination is a problem nationwide. Agencies turn to testing strategies as the most effective tool to gather evidence to identity potential violations of fair housing laws. Testing uncovers practices that are barriers to accessing housing such as differences in pricing, availability, neighborhood steering, implicit bias and micro-aggressions. It also provides flexibility for an agency to respond quickly to reports of discriminatory housing practices from community. 

We have used housing testing for over a decade, working with non-profit housing advocacy organizations to conduct fair housing tests. In 2017, we designed our own in-house civil rights testing program to address discriminatory practices in both housing and employment. We work in partnership with community organizations to identify barriers to housing for communities most impacted by discrimination. With the tools provided by the testing program, we can stretch beyond the limits of a complaint-based system and proactively identify and combat discrimination. 

Our 2018 testing focused on discrimination/different treatment in criminal background and race. Learn more about what bias looks like in Seattle's housing rental market in the 2018 Testing Program Report.