Jack Holtzman, co-director of the Fair Housing Project, echoed Dillman's sentiment that other areas of North Carolina may not be as educated about their housing rights or outlets to report discrimination.
“We believe that there is a substantial percentage of individuals in North Carolina who are not even aware of their fair housing rights or how to file their housing complaints or where they could file complaints if they wanted too,” Holtzman said.
A lot of housing discrimination can be hard to recognize, as it's not as conspicuous as it used to be, said Erika Wilson, a professor in the UNC School of Law.
“It’s not necessarily going to be a landlord calling someone a racial slur," she said. "It’s going to be more backdoor methods that people don’t recognize."
The Fair Housing Project uses trained testers of different statuses to see if they are offered different things to determine if discrimination is present.
Wilson said a lot of racial housing discrimination is found from neighborhoods wanting to maintain a certain "aesthetic" to keep property value high.
“In places where you have higher-income people, more affluent people, typically white residents – you are more likely to see exclusionary practices meant to maintain that aesthetic where you have a more homogeneous neighborhood,” she said.
Wilson said many jurisdictions are thinking about enacting legislation that prohibits the discrimination of tenants based on source of income.
“Landlords will often refuse to rent tenants that have Section 8 vouchers, which are vouchers given to low income residents by the federal government to help them pay their rent," Wilson said.
This is legalized racial discrimination, as a lot of voucher holders are people of color, she said. The discrimination could actually be about the client's race, but it's legally about the vouchers.
“On the disability front, it’s often a cost issue, that landlords don’t want to have to take the extra cost to provide reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities,” Wilson said.
The Fair Housing Project tests houses and buildings when they are built to see if they properly accommodate those with disabilities. If the construction doesn't meet the necessary standards, a complaint is filed, Holtzman said.
EmPOWERment Inc. of Chapel Hill, founded in 1996 by two UNC graduates, buys homes and apartments and turns them into affordable rentals.
“What we have been trying to do all of this time is to eliminate or lessen barriers that low wealth communities have ... that women or black and brown folk have,” said Delores Bailey, executive director of EmPOWERment.
EmPOWERment now owns 50 affordable rental units in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, largely in the Northside neighborhood, Bailey said.
“The other thing we take pride in is helping these communities learn how to use their voice, so that they can eventually advocate for themselves,” Bailey said.
Holtzman said the two most important things when it comes to housing discrimination are enforcement and education. He said North Carolina is a large state, and there needs to be more people doing this work.
Wilson said people may need to change how they think about housing.
"I think people think of housing as a private thing that affects them," Wilson said. "But housing I think really should be conceptualized as a human right as a number of externalities."