LAST YEAR SAW THE HIGHEST number of housing discrimination complaints ever filed in the U.S. in a single year. According to HUD's annual fair housing report, the federal agency and state and local government agencies received 10,328 such complaints in 2006. Race and disability, the report says, made up the lion's share of the cases.

“As diverse as this country is, we still see instances where individuals are denied housing because of the color of their skin or because they have physical disabilities that require certain accommodations,” said Kim Kendrick, HUD assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, in a press release announcing the report.

Of the complaints filed, 40 percent alleged racial discrimination and almost the same percentage alleged discrimination against persons with disabilities. The report says that most of the complaints cited discrimination in the terms and conditions of the sale or rental of housing, or a refusal to rent.

Even though the Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, HUD is engaged in ongoing enforcement activities regarding these types of complaints. In particular, the agency is working to increase the stock of accessible housing for people with disabilities. Part of that effort includes training architects, builders, and developers in the accessible-design and -construction requirements of the Fair Housing Act.

To read a copy of the fair housing report, visit