Print & Online Coverage

The racial wealth gap in real estate is growing. Here are 3 ways housing has been harder for Black Americans in 2020. (Business Insider)

November 14, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic ushered in record-low mortgage interest rates that sparked a buying frenzy and sent the US barreling toward a housing shortage.

And while it could seem like everyone is buying a house in 2020, real estate purchases have proven to be more difficult for one demographic in particular: Black Americans…

“Redfin’s policies redline communities of color and will further exacerbate the racial wealth and homeownership gaps,” the president of the NFHA, Lisa Rice, said in a statement. “We must ensure that all neighborhoods are treated fairly and have access to the full range of services provided by real estate companies.” Click here to read the full article.


Planet Money: Biden Time (NPR)

November 13, 2020

In a couple months, when Joe Biden becomes President Biden, it is very likely that the Senate will be controlled by Republicans, which means not that many laws are going to get passed in the next couple of years…

MALONE: All right, last chapter, Chapter 4 – firing the unfireable bureaucrat.

GOLDSTEIN: This is a story about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the CFPB, which is the government organization that’s supposed to make sure that, you know, banks don’t get too tricky with their customers.

MALONE: And to understand this chapter, we’re going to need to go back to the founding of the CFPB, not long after the financial crisis of 2008.

GOLDSTEIN: One of the people who helped design the bureau was Lisa Rice. She is now the CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, an advocacy group. And she told me one of the essential things they decided was this new bureau would be run by a really powerful director, who would be chosen by the president and confirmed by the Senate, and then it would be really hard to fire the director until their five-year term was up.

LISA RICE: It should be hard for the president to fire the director because you’ve got to have somebody who is shielded from those kinds of attacks and threats so that they can do their job for the American people. You’re going up against these very well-connected business interests. Read more here.


Devaluing Black neighborhoods: Redfin accused of the latest form of redlining (The Baltimore Sun)

November 10, 2020

Real estate services company Redfin Corporation has been accused by several housing groups, including the National Fair Housing Alliance, of perpetuating the problem with a form of modern-day “digital redlining.” The groups filed a lawsuit that accused Redfin of offering its services in several cities, including Baltimore, to white neighborhoods at much higher rates than neighborhoods mostly made up of residents of color. This was enabled by a policy that set minimum listing prices for housing markets, under which the company would not offer any real estate brokerage services to buyers or sellers.

Guess which neighborhoods fall below those requirements? In Baltimore, the company was 5.73 times more likely not to offer service in “extremely nonwhite ZIP codes” and 6.7 times more likely to offer its best services in “extremely white” ZIP codes, according to the complaint. Click here to read the full article.


Were There Segregated House Advertisements in KC? (Flatland)

November 9, 2020

In the Midwest, which has the highest homeownership rates, that dream is more attainable, according to the National Association of Realtors. But it wasn’t always accessible to everyone. 

A reader reached out to curiousKC, asking about how real estate advertisements were once handled in local newspapers. Read the full article here.


Systemic Racism 201: The Advantages Whites Have Felt Entitled to for Generations (Milwaukee Independent)

November 9, 2020

Most conversations about systemic racism center the stories of the harms to people of color while ignoring that White people benefit tremendously from it. This is a tough pill to swallow. Few people are willing to go down the proverbial rabbit hole Morpheus spoke allegorically about in that scene from the Matrix.

It is time we explore systemic racism from that vantage point. Imagine looking at a 1,000-piece puzzle on your table and realizing the box cover is blank. Where do you begin? This is how I explain to people the hidden side of systemic racism. You don’t know what you don’t know. Read more here.


N.J. landlord has been accused of sexual harassment by the feds and 4 tenants. He has not been criminally charged. (NJ.com)

November 8, 2020

In 2018, the DOJ created a Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative to raise awareness of an issue that experts say has been prevalent in housing, specifically for low-income renters, for decades.

The agency filed five lawsuits in 2019 similar to the one filed against Centanni, alleging landlords sexually harassed their tenants. The National Fair Housing Alliance said in their annual report that their organization has seen a steady increase of sexual harassment complaints in recent years.

But experts believe the issue may be more widespread than is being acknowledged.

According to the National Fair Housing Alliance’s 2020 trends report, “most victims of sexual harassment in housing choose not to report their experiences” primarily because “sexual harassment is usually perpetrated on persons in precarious housing situations, who have few or no options.”

“It’s a symptom of housing instability,” said Morgan Williams, general counsel for the National Fair Housing Alliance. Access the full story here.


Redfin beats Q3 estimates but stock dips; CEO says company’s tech is a ‘passport to a new life’ (GeekWire)

November 5, 2020

Redfin is facing allegations of discriminatory pricing practices and “redlining” in a lawsuit filed by the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and other fair housing organizations. The NFHA, which filed a lawsuit last week, said that after a two-year investigation it determined that Redfin’s minimum home price policy discriminates against sellers and buyers of homes in communities of color in many metropolitan areas. Click here to read the full article.


EPA employees launch a revolt against Trump’s racist policies just hours before polls open (LGBTQ Nation)

November 3, 2020

On the eve of Election Day, staffers from the Environmental Protection Agency revolted against Donald Trump’s recent ban on diversity and anti-racism training in government agencies. The LGBTQ advocacy group Lambda Legal also filed a federal lawsuit against Trump’s ban on Election Day. Click here to read more.


LGBTQ groups sue Trump administration over ban on workplace diversity training (NY Daily News)

November 3, 2020

LGBTQ rights groups are suing the Trump administration over an executive order banning the government from working with contractors that conduct workplace diversity training.

On Monday, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of eight plaintiffs over Trump’s controversial order on “combating race and sex stereotyping.”

The executive order, signed on Sept. 22, targets what the administration describes as a “destructive ideology [which] is grounded in misrepresentations of our country’s history and its role in the world,” and that “threatens to infect core institutions of our country.”

It prohibits federal contractors from explicitly acknowledging and confronting the existence of structural racism and sexism in our society. Click here to read more.


LGBT advocacy groups sue over Trump diversity training order (POLITICO)

November 3, 2020

LGBT advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate President Donald Trump’s September executive order banning the government from working with contractors that conduct “any form of race or sex stereotyping,” including diversity training. Click here to read more.


NAACP Lays Down First Challenge to Executive Order 13950 Prohibiting Inclusion of “Divisive” Concepts In Workplace Training Programs (The National Law Review)

November 3, 2020

The first legal challenge to Executive Order 13950 (the “Order”) has been made. On October 29, 2020, the NAACP, representing the National Urban League, and the National Fair Housing Alliance, filed a civil rights class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Case No. 1:20-cv-03121), requesting injunctive and declaratory relief against the President of the United States, the U.S. Secretary of Labor and the U.S. Department of Labor. Specifically, the lawsuit seeks for the Court to strike down the Order, declaring it unlawful and invalid, arguing it violates inter alia the First Amendment protection of free speech and the Fifth Amendment equal protection clause. Click here to read more.