Rental Housing Search and Occupancy Experiences of Veterans with Disabilities
Semeah, Luz Mairena
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The search for rental housing can be a very stressful and complex process for veterans with service-connected disabilities. This process requires the evaluation of different factors, such as one's credit score, housing costs in relation to income and employment status, space requirements, type of housing structure, quality preferences, and neighborhood preferences. The purpose of this study was to investigate and document the housing search and occupancy experiences of veterans with disabilities. The study describes the current rental housing situation of these veterans and examines their satisfaction with their current housing. The contextual framework of this study was developed based on Morris and Winter's (1975, 1978) theory of housing adjustment which identifies the key role of housing satisfaction as a measure to evaluate housing against housing norms and specialized needs. Issues associated with veterans with disabilities and their experience with accessibility, discrimination and Fair Housing Act provisions were integrated into the analysis of satisfaction. Three major hypotheses were tested. Data collection occurred employing a mixed-mode survey design via a self-administered on-line survey and interviews, between October 9, 2012 and February 2, 2013. Eighty-three surveys were collected through job fairs and veteran community sponsored events, the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and other organizations. Descriptive statistics (frequencies, percentages, and means) were used to provide profiles of the respondents, including demographic information, search process, current housing situation, accessible features, satisfaction with current housing, awareness of the FHAA, and military experience. One-way ANOVA, t-test, and Chi-Square were used to analyze associations when testing the three hypotheses. The study results demonstrate that these veterans could benefit from increased awareness of the provisions of the FHAA. Further, findings suggest there is a need to educate veterans about the value of filing formal complaints about housing discrimination in order to potentially reduce the frequency of housing discrimination behaviors against veterans with service-connected disabilities. OEF/OIF veterans with trauma-related injuries were more likely to be dissatisfied with their housing and more likely to have experienced discrimination during the housing search process. The findings from this research are useful to veterans looking for rental housing, property managers looking to attract and maintain veteran renters, and organizations looking to assist veterans with housing related issues.
- Doctoral Dissertations