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In April, we will celebrate Fair Housing Month and the 52nd anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, passed in to ensure that every American would have equal access to housing and be free from discrimination. Today it remains one of the most critical pieces of civil rights legislation for advancing racial and other forms of equality, and helps foster stronger and more inclusive communities, essential to our collective success and prosperity.
One of the tenets of the Fair Housing Act is that entities receiving federal funding must do its part to affirmatively further fair housing , that is, foster communities that are diverse and inclusive, eliminate systemic discrimination based on race and other factors, topple the barriers created by government-sponsored segregation, and ensure that residents of all communities have access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.
In , the administration released an affirmatively furthering fair housing AFFH rule that encompassed elements intended to create an effective fair housing planning process, centered on the concerns raised by community members and resulting in concrete strategies for tackling barriers to fair housing. It set the nation on a path toward dismantling the systemic discrimination and deeply entrenched segregation that harm us all. The proposed rule would eliminate the suspended AFFH rule entirely, replacing it with a new rule that does not address segregation, conflates affordable housing with fair housing, and allows the status quo of discriminatory policies to continue.
This country has a long history of segregationist and discriminatory housing policies and we must reverse the effects of those policies. We cannot allow this proposed rule to go unchallenged. You can join the fight to preserve the ability of our communities to effectively tackle segregation and create diverse, inclusive communities by writing a unique comment letter. The federal register can be viewed here. The Fair Housing Act prohibits both intentional discrimination as well as the application of a policy or practice that appears neutral on its face but has a discriminatory effect.
In , the U. Now, however, the proposed rule change would set a higher bar, requiring civil rights advocates to meet five rather than three requirements in order to succeed with a disparate impact claim. The new rule provides a virtual blueprint for how housing providers can successfully defend against disparate impact claims and even claims that the federal Fair Housing Act FHA would not override state laws that regulate the insurance industry.
Martin Luther King Jr. Despite strides made in the last half-century, however, discrimination in housing persists in the rental, lending, sales, and insurance markets. California and its residents have a strong history in using disparate impact and fighting to preserve it.
As Attorney General of California, Senator Kamala Harris played a key role in the Inclusive Communities case, signing a strong amicus brief filed by Attorneys General around the country that strongly supported disparate impact. California cities also stepped up to support disparate impact.
The compelling amicus brief filed by municipalities was led by San Francisco and included Los Angeles and Oakland. Both briefs were cited by Justice Kennedy. California has been the site of significant disparate impact litigation over the years, related to lending, families with children, residency restrictions, and replacement housing. Merribrook Apartments, James C.
In Ramirez v. Greenpoint Mortgage Funding , F. Judge Thelton Henderson held that borrowers of color had sufficiently stated a disparate impact claim by alleging that borrowers of color were subject to more discretionary charges that could not be explained by legitimate risk factors.
Countrywide Fin. Action League v. City of Palmdale , No. Banking and insurance trade groups have been exerting pressure to take apart this key protection. Here are some potential outcomes of the elimination of the rule: A landlord could exclude qualified applicants without full-time jobs, including seniors and veterans. An insurance company could refuse to insure homes under a certain dollar value.
In many communities, this would exclude homes in neighborhoods of color. A landlord could evict a tenant if police were called numerous times, even if that tenant was the victim of abuse seeking protection from their abuser, placing women—the primary victims of domestic abuse—and their children at risk of homelessness and further violence. See the Vice article here. Furthermore, language in the proposal indicates that a defendant must simply prove that a practice or policy is profitable in order to withstand a challenge that it has a discriminatory impact, while placing the burden on victims of discrimination to prove that a company can be as profitable without discriminating.
Gutting the disparate impact protections under the Fair Housing Act will affect the use of this civil rights tool in other areas, including education, employment, health, environmental justice, transportation, and policing.
Following the publication of the proposed rule on the Federal Register, there is a day comment period. Civil rights advocates are concerned that the HUD rule foreshadows a broader application within much of the federal government, as similar efforts are under way in the Education and Justice Departments. Government and private discriminatory housing policies such as redlining, lending and insurance policies, advertising, and zoning rules — past and present — have been identified by housing advocates, and analyses by various groups show that they persist around the country today, negatively impacting communities of color, people with disabilities, and ethnic minorities.
Black homeownership is as low as it has been since the s: See article in Urban Wire. Now the administration is sending an entirely different message. FHANC also offers foreclosure prevention counseling, seminars to help housing providers fully understand fair housing law, and education programs for tenants and the community at large.
In a March, decision, the federal court found that the fair housing groups had standing to bring a lawsuit against Fannie Mae and upheld their disparate impact claims against the mortgage giant. Disparate impact is a longstanding protection that allows people to challenge unjustified policies that might seem neutral on their face but result in discriminatory outcomes.
These same communities that were targeted for unsustainable mortgages were the hardest hit. Our goal with this lawsuit is to get the industry moving in another direction. Background On December 5, , the National Fair Housing Alliance along with 20 local fair housing organizations throughout the United States filed a federal lawsuit against Fannie Mae in federal district court in San Francisco, California. The lawsuit alleged that Fannie Mae failed to maintain its foreclosed properties REO properties in Black and LatinX neighborhoods to the same level of quality and standards as it did for foreclosed properties it owned in predominately White communities.
The plaintiff fair housing groups conducted a comprehensive multi-year investigation of over 2, properties owned by Fannie Mae in 38 metropolitan areas see map below and accumulated over 49, photographs documenting the mistreatment and poor maintenance conditions in communities of color as well as the superior treatment and proper maintenance of REOs in predominately White communities. The investigation revealed that Fannie Mae failed to perform routine maintenance, marketing and management activities such as mowing the lawn, trimming hedges, removing debris, maintaining gutters, etc.
Adan Bernardino Peralta was a prospective tenant who applied for and was subsequently denied the opportunity to rent a two-bedroom apartment at Lone Palm Court Apartments, C Street in San Rafael, California in August Peralta is a naturalized U. His wife, born in Colombia, was a resident in the United States with a valid tourist visa. Read More. The lawsuit alleges Defendants intentionally failed to provide routine exterior maintenance and marketing at Bank of America-owned homes in working- and middle-class African-American and Latino neighborhoods in 37 metropolitan areas, while they consistently maintained similar bank-owned homes in comparable white neighborhoods.
Below is an example of a Bank of America property in a neighborhood of color in Vallejo, which demonstrates a number of issues that invite further problems. The boarded door and window reduce marketability, are unappealing, and make the home dark inside.
These boards are also not protecting the windows from breaking since the boards are on the inside of the house. Click here to download the complete press release. This piece of legislation had been filibustered in the Senate by segregationists until the Kerner Commission released its reports that civil unrest was due to the existence of "two societies, one black, one white - separate and unequal.
At times, critics suggest the law's integration aims should be sidelined in favor of colorblind enforcement measures that stamp out racial discrimination but do not serve the larger purpose of defeating systemic segregation. To the law's drafters, these ideas were not in conflict.
The law was informed by the history of segregation, in which individual discrimination was a manifestation of a wider societal rift. It was not until that HUD promulgated its Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule laying out very clear guidelines on how federal agencies would be expected to ensure that federal funds would be used to further fair housing.
Nevertheless, the concept of furthering fair housing and integrating communities was inherent in the Fair Housing Act, a mandate that grew out of an understanding that this country must counter decades of institutionalized racism and discrimination that led to the segregation we see today, locally and nationally.
Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California celebrates the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act next Wednesday, April 25, looking at the history of the Act, its successes and shortcomings, and how best to chart a path forward. The event will bring together fair housing and tenant advocates, lenders, real estate agents and developers, housing providers, city and county staff, elected officials, and community members.
The conference commemorating the historic event will feature speakers and panelists from Marin, the Bay Area, California, and the east coast to make it a profound event, particularly against the backdrop of the state of civil rights in our country today and the current administration. Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California is a non-profit organization serving several Bay Area counties that provides free counseling, enforcement, mediation, and legal or administrative referrals to persons experiencing housing discrimination.
Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California also offers foreclosure prevention services, pre-purchase education, seminars to help housing providers fully understand fair housing law, and education programs for tenants and the community at large. The mission of Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California is to ensure equal housing opportunity and to educate the community on the value of diversity in our neighborhoods. The Fair Housing Conference will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, featuring experts in the fair housing field who will address pressing fair housing concerns affecting Marin and the Bay Area, and offer opportunities to engage in strategies to further fair housingin local communities, given present and future challenges at the local, state, and national levels.
The conference will gather community members, advocates, real estate professionals, municipal leaders, service providers, and the business community. The program includes concurrent panels on tenant rights and protections, sustainable homeownership, gentrification and displacement, and on affirmatively furthering fair housing.
The closing panel will focus on strengthening housing advocacy through alliance building. Pre-registration is required to attend. Partial scholarships are available upon request; visit our conference page for more information. FHANC conducts outreach activities and offers programs that educate the community about fair housing and the value of diversity, and also conducts preventive trainings for housing providers, and provides pre-purchase education and foreclosure prevention counseling.
The complaint was filed against Rosa Nguyen and Bob Torreso, the owner and the property manager, respectively, of Clark Street, San Rafael, where the plaintiffs resided with their minor son. Bob Torreso was the primary agent in contact with the clients regarding their tenancy. The poor maintenance of homes in communities of color resulted in these homes having wildly overgrown grass and weeds, unlocked doors and windows, broken doors and windows, dead animals decaying, and trash and debris left in yards.
The lawsuit is the result of a multi-year investigation undertaken by NFHA and its fair housing agency partners beginning in NFHA also met with representatives from Ocwen and Altisource and shared photographs illlustrating these problems. No improvements with routine maintenance and marketing issues were identified following those meetings, so NFHA and the 19 fair housing agencies amended the HUD complaint to add these companies.
The lawsuit points out that Deutsche Bank-owned homes in predominantly white working- and middle-class neighborhoods are far more likely to have the lawns mowed and edged regularly, invasive weeds and vines removed, windows and doors secured or repaired, litter, debris and trash removed, leaves raked, and graffiti erased from the property.
Deutsche Bank-owned home in a non-white community in Richmond left and Antioch right. Boarded homes, holes in eaves, and bent gutters were just some of the deficits found at this Fairfield home. Deutsche Bank-owned home in a white community in Benicia left and Brentwood right. Even a highly scored property in a majority non-white neighborhood in Vallejo, built in and in good shape, was completely unsecured, inviting vandals to waltz through the door.
That is unconscionable. Investigators also took and closely reviewed nearly 30, photographs of Deutsche Bank-owned homes to document the differences in treatment between communities of color and white neighborhoods. NFHA conducted repeat visits to several Deutsche Bank-owned homes over the course of the investigation.
However, investigators found little or no improvement in maintenance and often found the homes in worse condition. FHANC investigated a total of 22 Deutsche Bank properties in the Vallejo and Richmond metro areas, 5 of which were located in predominantly Latino communities, 13 REOs in a community with a majority of non-White residents and 4 in predominantly White communities. This is not a new problem for Deutsche Bank. Under the Fair Housing Act, trustees are clearly liable for discriminatory activity to the same extent as any other owner of property.
The health and safety hazards created by these blighted Deutsche Bank-owned homes affect the residents, especially the children, living nearby. No one is asking for special treatment of these bank-owned homes; we simply ask that these companies provide the same standard of care for all bank-owned homes, regardless of the racial or ethnic composition of the neighborhood in which they are located.
Fair Housing Act Cases
Malanris There had been no domestic violence or other cause for a legal order against me. To date he dates my then best friend, has a very successful lawsukts in his dads name and he lives in our k home. I am a 53 yr old woman who is homeless in southern cal. Thank you for this great blog! Vudotaxe Somehow, he modified the loan with my name on it. I am in washington state can you help me to get a attorney to represent me in this matter can you take on a case in the state of washington for contingincy fee. When I reach the other side of these cases, I hope there is something I can do for the homeless, as they are deeply in my heart.
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File Type: Procedural Item. In Control: City.. Discuss pending and contemplated litigation — Texas. It is the largest single. They can allow people of just one gender to stay there. If you have not yet investigated the possibility of getting SSI on the basis of your disability, you can read about it and apply for it online. One odd note is that the owner is paying the gas bill, but not the electric So, can I legally take possession of the the property?
Fair Housing Act Cases Filed by Year and State
The proposed changes would overwhelmingly tip the scales in favor of landlords and other defendants, letting them keep policies and practices that prevent people of color, women, families with children, people with disabilities, and others from having the fair access to housing that the FHA was intended to protect. The proposed changes would overwhelmingly tip the scales in favor of landlords and other defendants, letting them keep policies and practices that prevent people of color, women, families with children, people with disabilities, and others from having the fair access to housing. Disparate impact refers to policies or practices that seem neutral or fair but in practice — either intentionally or unintentionally — negatively and disproportionally affect certain groups of people. In a housing context, disparate impact claims are a tool for enforcing rights under the FHA, which bans housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, familial status, disability, and religion. It would thereby increase the challenges that low-income people of color, individuals with disabilities, and others such as families with children face finding a place to live. In addition, this proposal could empower communities to restrict these renters and new affordable housing units to certain neighborhoods, limiting the housing choices of those whom the FHA is supposed to protect and likely perpetuating the concentration of low-income renters of color and affordable housing developments in communities that face chronic underinvestment.
Trump Administration’s Proposed Rule Would Perpetuate Racist and Discriminatory Housing Practices