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December 5, 2016
Mortgage Giant Fannie Mae Accused of Racial Discrimination
in 38 U.S. Metro Areas

National Fair Housing Alliance and 20 Civil Rights Groups
File Federal Lawsuit Over Neglected Foreclosures

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and 20 local fair housing organizations from across the United States filed a housing discrimination lawsuit against Fannie Mae in federal district court in San Francisco, California. The lawsuit alleges that Fannie Mae purposely fails to maintain its foreclosures (also known as real estate owned or “REO” properties) in middle- and working-class African American and Latino neighborhoods to the same level of quality it does for foreclosures it owns in white middle- and working-class neighborhoods. The data supporting the federal lawsuit, which includes substantial photographic evidence, shows a stark pattern of discriminatory conduct by Fannie Mae in the maintenance of its foreclosures.

The lawsuit is the result of a multi-year investigation. During the past several years, NFHA notified Fannie Mae many times of its failure to maintain and market its foreclosed homes in communities of color to the same standard to which it was maintaining and marketing the foreclosed homes it owned in similar, predominantly white neighborhoods. In spite of numerous meetings between NFHA and Fannie Mae to address these disparities in maintenance and marketing, Fannie Mae persisted in its willful neglect of its properties in African American and Latino neighborhoods.

The initial investigation was undertaken by NFHA and two local fair housing organizations in 2009 and involved four metropolitan areas. Much of this evidence was shared with Fannie Mae. However, Fannie Mae failed to make changes to ensure equal treatment in the maintenance and marketing of its foreclosures in neighborhoods of color, and the investigation was expanded to include an additional 18 fair housing organizations, culminating in data from 212 cities in 38 metropolitan areas. Click to see the lists of regions and fair housing organizations.

Comprised of evidence from 2011 through 2015, the lawsuit contains information from more than 2,300 foreclosures owned and maintained by Fannie Mae. NFHA and its 20 partner fair housing organizations collected evidence at each property on over 35 data points that were identified as important to protecting, securing, and marketing the homes. Investigators also took and reviewed over 49,000 photographs of these foreclosures that document the differences in treatment.

For more information about the lawsuit, see our Fannie Mae page and view the materials below:
Read the press release
Read the complaint
View exhibit A (Fannie Mae field service checklists)
View the national presentation
View the presentations for each of the 38 metropolitan areas
November 29, 2016
A Home for the Holidays!
People demonstrating with Keep Housing FAIR! signs

Everyone should have a home for the holidays. Unfortuantely, too many people have been locked out of the opportunity to have a safe home. Each year, there are over 4 million instances of housing discrimination—4 million times when a door has been unfairly closed in a family’s face.

The National Fair Housing Alliance is here to open doors—for everyone. Tuesday, November 29, is #GivingTuesday. During this holiday season and on this day of giving, please consider a generous donation to the National Fair Housing Alliance as we continue the fight to end housing discrimination across the country.

Thank You and Best Wishes for a healthy and happy Holiday Season!

Make a contribution today!

Join Television Producer Norman Lear and NFHA’s Executive VP Lisa Rice for a Special Preview Screening of “America Divided”

America Divided promo image
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
3pm – 5pm EDT
Brookings Institution
Falk Auditorium
1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington DC   20036

On September 14th, the Initiative on Business and Public Policy at Brookings will host a conversation on housing policy that features an early screening of “A House Divided,” an excerpt from the EPIX original docu-series on inequality called “America Divided.” In “A House Divided,” Norman Lear—creator of “All in the Family,” “Good Times” and “The Jeffersons”—investigates the housing affordability crisis in New York City through conversations with tenants, real estate agents, fair housing professionals, landlords and city officials. “America Divided” is executive produced by Lear, Shonda Rhimes, Common, Solly Granatstein, Lucian Read and Rick Rowley. After the screening, Lear will join a panel of experts to discuss housing affordability and fair housing issues.

Martin Neil Baily, Senior Fellow — Economic Studies, Brookings Institution
Mark Calabria, Director of Financial Regulation Studies — The Cato Institute
Aaron Klein, Fellow — Economic Studies, Policy Director, Initiative on Business and Public Policy
Norman Lear — Television Writer and Producer
Lisa Rice — Executive Vice President, National Fair Housing Alliance

• To register to attend the event in person, click here.
• To register to participate via webcast (post-viewing discussion only), click here.
• To see a preview of “A House Divided,” click here.
• To learn more about “America Divided” and see the trailer, click here.

Be a part of the social media buzz for this amazing docu-series. Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter and use the hashtags #AmericaDivided and #StoriesUniteUs.

Special thanks to Radical Media, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Just Films: Ford Foundation, and the JPB Foundation for their support of the “America Divided” docu-series.
JPB Foundataion logo Radical Media logo WK Kellogg Foundation logo Just Films Foundataion logo
August 31, 2016
Bank of America Accused of Racial Discrimination in 30 U.S. Metropolitan Areas and 201 Cities

Civil Rights Groups File New Evidence of Housing Discrimination in Federal Complaint Alleging Neglect of Foreclosures in Communities of Color

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and nine local fair housing organizations filed an amended discrimination complaint against Bank of America (BoA). The complaint alleges illegal discrimination by BoA in African American and Latino neighborhoods in six additional cities. This new evidence of discriminatory treatment by BoA will be added to the federal Fair Housing Act complaint on file with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Furthermore, NFHA and the nine fair housing organizations added new evidence to their existing claims. The six additional cities are: Columbus, OH; Gary, IN; Minneapolis, MN; Newark, NJ; Tampa, FL; and neighborhoods in suburban Detroit.

NFHA and the nine fair housing organizations investigated an additional 399 Bank of America foreclosures and found that BoA continues its failure to properly maintain foreclosed properties in African American and Latino neighborhoods. This new evidence formed the basis of the amended complaint. The complaint is now comprised of evidence from 1,267 BoA properties in 30 metropolitan areas and 201 cities throughout the United States.

“Bank of America’s deliberate neglect of its foreclosures in communities of color creates financial concerns as well as health and safety risks for people living near poorly-maintained foreclosed homes,” said Shanna L. Smith, President and CEO of NFHA. “Too many of these foreclosures have overgrown weeds, unsecured doors or windows, and debris left in the yard, creating perfect breeding grounds for rats, mice, snakes, and mosquitoes. Bank of America is exacerbating the risk of spreading the Zika virus in south Florida by allowing standing water to accumulate in pool covers, tires, and debris around these foreclosures.”

Read the press release
Read the complaint
View exhibit A (photos)
View exhibit B (maps)
View the national presentation
View the presentations for each of the 16 metropolitan areas
August 26, 2016
Investing in Inclusive Communities

Today, NFHA released a new report entitled Investing in Inclusive Communities: How Fair Housing Organizations Foster Diverse and Stable Neighborhoods Using the Federal Fair Housing Act.” This report provides a detailed overview of how 14 fair housing centers invested $27 million in predominantly African American and Latino communities following an agreement with Wells Fargo Bank in 2013. The publication contains information on the major strategies employed in the 19 cities where community support grants were invested. It includes stories of grantees and families in the community and provides best practices for future community investment endeavors.

Read the report
May 17, 2016
National Fair Housing Alliance Takes Action to Stop Discrimination against Housing Choice Voucher Holders
WASHINGTON, DC—The National Fair Housing Alliance filed a federal lawsuit alleging race, sex and source of income discrimination against Travelers Indemnity Company and Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America (Travelers) for failing to provide habitational insurance to apartment owners who rent to tenants who participate in the Housing Choice Voucher program.

To learn more about this important issue, see a copy of the complaint or access the news release, click here.
December 3, 2015
Housing Accessibility Lawsuit Settles for $600,000
Shockoe Valley View Apartments in Richmond, Va. Will Also Receive Retrofits

WASHINGTON, DC—The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia, Inc. (HOME) have settled a housing discrimination case with Hunt Investments, LLC; Walter Parks, Architect, PLLC; MGT Construction Management, Inc.; Cedar Street Genesis, LLC; and Genesis Homes Manager, LLC. The case alleged that the defendants violated the federal Fair Housing Act by failing to design and construct Shockoe Valley View Apartments in compliance with accessibility requirements. The Fair Housing Act requires all new multi-family housing built after 1991 to be accessible and usable by people with disabilities. The agreement settles all claims.

In addition to retrofitting the complex to be accessible for people with disabilities, the defendants also agreed to pay $600,000 in damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees. NFHA and HOME will establish a $100,000 accessibility fund to help retrofit other homes in the community.

“It is important that the Shockoe Valley View Apartments are being modified to increase accessibility for the 151 units in that complex,” said Shanna L. Smith, NFHA’s President and CEO. “But it is our broader hope that this settlement will send a clear message to architects, builders, and developers in Virginia and across the country that apartment buildings must be designed and built so people with disabilities can travel around the property and maneuver through their apartments without encountering barriers.”

Click here to read the entire press release.
Click here to read the settlement agreement.
November 18, 2015
208 Groups Call on House and Senate Leaders
to Reject Anti-Fair Housing Riders in FY2016 Funding Bill
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the National Fair Housing Alliance delivered a letter signed by over 200 local, state, and national organizations, public officials, and businesses addressed to House and Senate leaders urging them to reject any policy riders that strip local fair housing organizations and the federal government of the resources and tools they need to protect Americans from housing discrimination.

In June, the House of Representatives approved Fiscal Year 2016 spending bills for the Department of Justice (CJS) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) that:
  • Eliminate Private Enforcement Initiative grants under the Fair Housing Initiatives Program, the only dedicated federal funding for private nonprofit fair housing organizations to conduct local enforcement of the Fair Housing Act.
  • Prohibit HUD from implementing and enforcing its recently released Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which provides much-needed guidance and data to local and state governments on how to meet their existing responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.
  • Prohibit HUD and DOJ from enforcing HUD’s Discriminatory Effects rule, which provides a unified legal standard for how to bring and defend against complaints against unjustified housing policies and practices that have discriminatory consequences.

“These policy riders make no sense and they strike at the heart of America’s civil rights enforcement infrastructure. Private nonprofit fair housing organizations use FHIP grants to investigate nearly 70% of all reported complaints of housing discrimination nationwide, and their investigations and testing result in filtering out meritless complaints that only clog up the administrative complaint process” said Shana Smith, President & CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance.

“HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule is nothing new, and it actually provides local and state governments with the guidance and data they need to help them create opportunities in their communities by removing barriers to fair housing choice – this is an existing requirement under the Fair Housing Act. HUD’s Discriminatory Effects rule implements a legal standard of bringing fair housing complaints that has been in use for decades, and that the Supreme Court just upheld.”

“The American people stand to lose the most if these riders are to become law. Congress should do away with these and other ideological riders with a clean Continuing Resolution and instead focus on removing the budget caps set by the Budget Control Act of 2011,” said Smith.

Click here to view the press release.
Click here to view the the letter.
Click here for a brief fact sheet about the anti-fair housing amendments that were adopted by the House of Representatives.
The Most Important Thing I’ve Ever Done Had Nothing to Do With Me

by Ise Lyfe

The most important thing I’ve ever done had nothing to do with me, and honestly and humbly, I have done my share of important things.

Ise Lyfe is an artist, writer and educator.
That’s the way it goes though doesn’t it? Grow up, choose something to do, and do it so well that people will see it as important. Especially you, yourself — you definitely better see yourself as important. Lucky for you, if you don’t see yourself as important our society has been inventive and has (d)evolved with new ways and tools to be important or at least feel important. There was the Stone Ages, Dark Ages, Golden Ages, and now the epic Self-Important Ages!

Read more…
November 17, 2015
Fair Housing Centers Settle Housing Accessibility Lawsuit in Washington and Idaho against Rudeen Development and Several Co-Defendants
Accessible Design and Construction Requirements of the Fair Housing Act Have Been in Place Since 1991
WASHINGTON, DC—The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), Intermountain Fair Housing Council, and Northwest Fair Housing Alliance have settled a housing accessibility lawsuit against Rudeen Development, LLC and several co-defendants. The lawsuit alleged violations of accessibility requirements at:
  • River View Apartments (Coeur d’Alene, ID)
  • Villas at River View Apartments (Coeur d’Alene, ID)
  • Mountain View Apartments (Ponderay, ID)
  • Bentley Apartments (Spokane, WA)
  • and Mirabolante Apartments (Spokane Valley, WA).

The agreement settles claims that Rudeen and other defendants designed or constructed multifamily dwellings and common- and public-use areas without the accessibility features required under the Federal Fair Housing Act. The defendants have agreed to make improvements and modifications at the five apartment complexes which will enhance the accessibility of apartments and common areas for persons with disabilities. The defendants have also agreed to pay the fair housing centers $225,000 in damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees.

“We appreciate the cooperation of Rudeen Development in achieving an efficient resolution of this dispute,” said Shanna L. Smith, NFHA’s President and CEO. “Their commitment to making their apartments more accessible to people with disabilities is an important victory for residents of Idaho and Washington.”

Click here to read the entire press release.
Click here to read the settlement agreement.
November 10, 2015
Fair Housing Organizations and Ryan Companies Reach Agreement to Make Housing Complexes Accessible for People with Disabilities

Veterans and Seniors Benefit from $2.7 Million Settlement

WINNETKA, IL—The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), Open Communities, and HOPE Fair Housing Center (HOPE) have reached an agreement with Ryan Companies US, Inc. to make Ryan properties compliant with the accessibility requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act. Ryan Companies has agreed to make alterations to over 900 apartments, resolving a lawsuit involving 10 housing complexes located in Illinois and Iowa, over the next 24 months so the apartments and all common areas wil be accessible for people with disabilities.

In addition to making these modifications, Ryan Companies will pay a total of $875,000 to NFHA, Open Communities, and HOPE for damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and frustration of the core mission of the fair housing agencies.

Click here to read the entire press release.
Click here to read the consent decree.
October 29, 2015
CFPB Wins Default Judgment Against Corinthian Colleges for Engaging in a Predatory Lending Scheme

Court Rules that Corinthian Engaged in Deceptive Lending Practices and Illegal Debt Collection Practices

WASHINGTON, DC—At the request of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a federal court entered a final default judgment against Corinthian Colleges, Inc., resolving a lawsuit filed by CFPB in September 2014.

The lawsuit alleged that Corinthian lured tens of thousands of students into taking out private loans to cover expensive tuition costs by advertising bogus job prospects and career services. Corinthian then used illegal debt collection practices to strong-arm students into paying back those loans while in school. The court ordered that Corinthian was liable for more than $530 million and prohibited the company from engaging in future misconduct.

Click here to read the entire press release.
October 22, 2015
Why LGBT People Can Still Face Discrimination in Housing

A majority of states still do not ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) people in housing or in employment, public accommodations, credit, and education. “Out spoken and ridiculous comedian” and YouTuber Hartbeat explains in this video why all Americans should have the same protections from discrimination when seeking housing.

Learn more about the need for comprehensive LGBT nondiscrimination protections on the LGBT webpage of the Center for American Progress.
October 21, 2015
Race Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against
Long Island German American Settlement League

Restriction on Membership Act as Barrier to Non-White Home Buyers

YAPHANK, NY—Long Island Housing Services, Inc. (LIHS), in conjunction with the owners of a home in Siegfried Park, filed a lawsuit against the German American Settlement League (GASL), the group that has owned the land under the homes in the private community since the late 1930s, when the American Bund Party sold the land to GASL.

The homeowners, Philip Kneer and Patricia Flynn-Kneer, contacted LIHS, a National Fair Housing Alliance member agency, for assistance after having been unable to sell their home as a result of restrictions on membership and advertising in the GASL bylaws. The complaint filed by LIHS and the Kneers alleges that GASL’s restrictions act as a barrier to prospective home buyers who are not white people of German ancestry or background and that the restrictions discriminate on the bases of race and national origin in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

The New York Times has an article, “Nazi Past of Long Island Hamlet Persists in a Rule for Home Buyers,” that details the history of the GASL, Siegfried Park, and Yaphank, the Long Island city in which Siegfried Park is located.

Click here to read LIHS’ press release.
Click here to read the complaint.
September 24, 2015
CFPB and DOJ Order Hudson City Savings Bank to Pay $27 Million to Increase Mortgage Credit Access in Communities Illegally Redlined

Bank Illegally Denied Black and Hispanic Neighborhoods Fair Access to Mortgages

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a joint action against Hudson City Savings Bank for discriminatory redlining practices that denied residents in majority-Black-and-Hispanic neighborhoods fair access to mortgage loans. The complaint filed by the CFPB and DOJ alleges that Hudson City illegally provided unequal access to credit to neighborhoods in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. The bank located branches and loan officers, selected mortgage brokers, and marketed products to avoid and thereby discourage prospective borrowers in predominantly Black and Hispanic communities. If the proposed consent order is approved by the court, Hudson City will pay $25 million in direct loan subsidies to qualified borrowers in the affected communities, $2.25 million in community programs and outreach, and a $5.5 million penalty. This represents the largest redlining settlement in history to provide such direct subsidies.

Click here to read the entire press release.
September 15, 2015
New York Times Cites NFHA Investigations
in Editorial about Effects of Continuing Segregation

“How Segregation Destroys Black Wealth”

In an editorial published today, the New York Times cites NFHA’s investigations of RE/MAX Alliance in Mississippi as evidence of the continuing housing discrimination encountered by African Americans:
Americans commonly — and mistakenly — believe that well-to-do black people no longer face the kind of discrimination that prevents them from living anywhere they can afford. But a federal housing discrimination complaint filed last week by the National Fair Housing Alliance shows that this toxic problem is very much with us, nearly 50 years after Congress outlawed housing discrimination in the Fair Housing Act.

The editorial, titled “How Segregation Destroys Black Wealth,” also cites research done by the Ofice of Population Research at Princeton University that shows the potential home wealth lost by African Americans as well as the economic gains lost by lack of access to neighborhoods of higher opportunity.

Click here to read the entire editorial.
September 11, 2015
Discrimination Complaint Filed against
RE/MAX Alliance / Lee Garland & Rita Jensen Team Agents

National Fair Housing Alliance Investigation Reveals Race Discrimination in Jackson, Mississippi, Real Estate Market

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the National Fair Housing Alliance (“NFHA”) filed a housing discrimination complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development against Lorgroup, LLC and real estate agents in the RE/MAX Alliance/Lee Garland and Rita Jensen Team, including Lee Garland, Randy Inman, Lisa Bourgoyne, and Chase Belk, alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act

NFHA conducted a series of fair housing tests of the Lee Garland and Rita Jensen Team of RE/MAX Alliance located in Brandon, Mississippi. During the roughly year-long investigation, white and black testers posed as home buyers and contacted the company to view homes in Jackson, Mississippi. The testers were similarly-qualified and had similar housing preferences.

According to the NFHA complaint, testing revealed that agents of the Lee Garland and Rita Jensen Team of RE/MAX Alliance discriminated on the basis of race. The agents steered the white home seekers away from interracial neighborhoods in Jackson, which is majority African American, and into majority white areas such as Pearl, Ridgeland, Richland, Clinton, Madison County, Rankin County, and Palahatchie. Conversely, the African American testers who inquired about properties in the Jackson area were often never called back and were generally provided very limited information.

During one test, both the white and black testers requested information about the same foreclosed property located in Jackson, Mississippi. The white tester was told that the house was under contract and was offered information about other properties. An agent showed the white tester multiple homes, mostly located in the predominantly white areas of Pearl and Richland, Mississippi. In contrast, the African American tester was not able to speak with an agent after leaving several messages at the agency’s primary contact number and ultimately was not afforded the opportunity to see homes in the area.

Under the federal Fair Housing Act it is illegal to discriminate in the housing market on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or familial status.

Click here to view the press release.

To see older new items, visit our older news page.
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Insurance Discrimination Against Housing Choice Voucher Program Participants Harms the District’s Most Vulnerable Households
DC outline map with DC flag NFHA has become aware of insurance coverage issues facing some landlords who rent to tenants who use housing choice vouchers, or “Section 8.” Specifically, some insurance companies refuse to provide property and liability coverage for multi-family properties where tenants with housing choice vouchers reside. This is housing discrimination.

Insurance companies are prohibited by the federal Fair Housing Act from engaging in practices that have a discriminatory impact on African Americans and other protected groups. In addition, the District of Columbia’s civil rights laws prohibit insurance companies from considering lawful source of income, such as housing choice vouchers. This is not just a matter of economic justice and income inequality; it is a matter of racial discrimination and bias against the District’s most vulnerable households and the landlords who help house low- and moderate-income families in our community.

For more information about these discriminatory insurance practices in the District, and to learn about your fair housing rights, please contact NFHA at 202‑898‑1661 and ask for Yvonne.
Fair Housing Videos
for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Fair Housing Alliance, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is pleased to announce the creation of 12 videos in American Sign Language (ASL) with English captioning. These videos provide critical legal and practical information in a format accessible to persons who are Deaf and/or Hard of Hearing. The videos were produced by Disability independence Group, NFHA and Sweetwater Media. To view the videos please click here.

Tell the CFPB Your Story
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has created a new mortgage complaint system feature to assist distressed borrowers. The Bureau is offering borrowers the chance to explain in detailed narrative their specific mortgage issues.

To file a complaint with CFPB, please click here

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