Print & Online Coverage

Student Loan Debt Impact On Home-Buying Analyzed At REALTOR® Policy Forum (RISMedia)

October 18, 2021

Top experts from the housing and higher-education fields joined policy thought leaders from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) on Wed., Oct. 13 to discuss the current student loan debt crisis and how it affects the economy, housing market and debt holders. Read the full article here.

Democrats clash over aid for first-time homebuyers (POLITICO)

October 11, 2021

Democrats and advocacy groups are at odds over how to help first-time homebuyers as part of a massive social spending package, clouding the fate of housing proposals floated as part of the $3.5 trillion budget bill. Read more here.

Maxine Waters ready to battle over potential cuts to housing aid (POLITICO)

October 7, 2021

The White House and congressional leaders are considering slashing $300 billion in housing aid proposed for Democrats’ $3.5 trillion social spending plan, setting up a clash with Rep. Maxine Waters and advocates who are vowing to protect the funds.

Hill aides and lobbyists said the housing money was on the chopping block as Democrats scrambled to find ways to lower the price tag of the budget reconciliation proposal by as much as $2 trillion. The $300 billion at issue would support down payment assistance, affordable home construction and several other housing programs. Read the full article here.

Report: Black homebuyers more likely to be denied mortgages in metro Detroit (Detroit Free Press)

October 4, 2021

Mortgage applications from Black homebuyers in metro Detroit were more likely to be denied, with nearly 40% of Black applicants facing rejection, compared with 18% of white homebuyers. 

That’s according to a report released last week looking at the barriers to homeownership and wealth building in Detroit. The analysis is part of a broader project in 10 American cities. Researchers from the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit research organization, honed in on Detroit’s homeownership trends before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the majority-Black city’s recovery from the Great Recession. Read more here.

A Homeownership Program that Takes Health into Account (Shelterforce)

September 28, 2021

Where you live matters, for both economic prospects and health. A recently released study of 10 U.S. cities confirms the gap between majority-white areas and neighborhoods of color is still increasing in key health and financial amenities.

The study, by Zillow, was commissioned by the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) for the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act in 2018, and updated this year to cover all 10 cities in NFHA’s Keys Unlock Dreams Initiative, a three-year project that aims to sharply boost homeownership among people of color. Click here to read the full article.

Advocates call on top Democrats for $100B in housing investments (The Hill)

September 15, 2021

Advocates are calling on top Democratic lawmakers to allocate $100 billion for housing investments in the party’s multitrillion-dollar reconciliation bill.

Three civil rights and fair housing groups penned a letter to top House and Senate Democrats on Monday, urging them to include the money in targeted first-generation down payment assistance in the $3.5 trillion bill to “take an initial step to reverse the harms of government-sponsored discrimination in the nation’s housing finance system.” Read more here.

Civil rights organizations want nondiscrimination steps laid out in NIST’s AI guidance (FedScoop)

September 13, 2021

A group of civil rights, tech and other advocacy organizations called for the National Institute of Standards and Technology to recommend steps needed to ensure nondiscriminatory and equitable outcomes for all users of artificial intelligence systems in the final draft of its Proposal for Identifying and Managing Bias with AI. Click here to read more.

Little Progress Made in Providing Blacks Financial Services and Healthcare, But NFHA Wants to Change That (Black Enterprise)

September 9, 2021

For over 50 years,  Black Americans have not garnered much help in gaining access to basic resources like financial services and healthcare.

Those are among the discoveries in “Where You Live Matters,” a new report by Zillow. The analysis was commissioned by the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA). The organization’s efforts include boosting the homeownership rate for communities of color and Millennials as well as closing the wealth gap. Read more here.

The Secret Bias Hidden in Mortgage-Approval Algorithms (The Markup)

August 25, 2021

Even accounting for factors lenders said would explain disparities, people of color are denied mortgages at significantly higher rates than White people. Read more here.

Corporate America’s $50 billion promise (The Washington Post)

August 23, 2021

After the murder of George Floyd ignited nationwide protests, corporate America acknowledged it could no longer stay silent and promised to take an active role in confronting systemic racism. …

Now, more than a year after America’s leading businesses assured employees and consumers they would rise to the moment, a Washington Post analysis of unprecedented corporate commitments toward racial justice causes reveals the limits of their power to remedy structural problems. Click here to read more.

Ronnie Devoe Is Leading More People Of Color To The Path Of Homeownership Through ‘Keys Unlock Dreams Initiative’ (Black Enterprise)

August 13, 2021

Ronnie DeVoe, the CEO of DeVoe Real Estate, and a member of the legendary groups BBD and New Edition, announced on Thursday that he is set to lead legions of Black Americans on the path to homeownership through a new partnership with the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA). Read more here.

Who is (and isn’t) covered by the CDC’s new eviction moratorium? (Fortune Magazine)

August 4, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday night issued a new order temporarily halting evictions in counties experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases… 

The new order will remain in place until Oct. 3, 2021. And while it applies only to U.S. counties that are experiencing “substantial and high levels” of COVID-19 cases, advocates say that currently covers about 80% to 90% of renters nationwide… 

But this provision could cause uncertainty for renters, landlords, and even housing advocates. “What we’re starting to see is another level of confusion with this eviction moratorium,” says Jorge Andres Soto, associate vice president of public policy and advocacy at the National Fair Housing Alliance. “We’re really excited and grateful that the administration took these steps, but it’s nowhere near enough.” Read the full article here.

Susan Rice to co-chair HUD appraisal task force (HousingWire)

July 29, 2021

The interagency task force to combat inequity in appraisals, led by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, will be co-chaired by former United Nations ambassador Susan Rice. Click here to read more.

Fair housing complaints remained elevated in 2020 (HousingWire)

July 29, 2021

Stay-at-home orders spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic did not have a notable impact on the velocity of fair housing complaints received in 2020 by organizations, according to a yearly trends report published by the National Fair Housing Alliance this week. Click here to read more.

The Next Crisis? Homelessness (POLITICO)

July 13, 2021

There is a looming eviction crisis on the verge of wreaking havoc on the nation, with housing and anti-poverty advocates warning it could drive many into homelessness.

As with many adverse effects of the pandemic, the advocates say, the impact of this crisis could be felt disproportionately by Black people and Latinos.

The federal government’s moratorium on evictions is set to expire July 31. This could complicate an already tight housing market that’s spurring soaring housing prices and rents and threatening economic recovery. Read more here.

Climate Change Puts Homeowners of Color at Greater Economic Risk (Mother Jones)

June 26, 2021

Less than a fifth of homeowners in counties hit by Harvey had flood insurance. Mortgage delinquencies soared. The number of borrowers who missed more than three mortgage payments tripled in the wake of the storm. Property values took a hit, too: A study by Freddie Mac, one of two mortgage loan companies backed by the federal government, found that homes in Houston’s 100-year floodplain sold for about $17,000 less than comparable homes outside the floodplain after the storm. The financial distress was felt most acutely by low-income families and communities of color. Read the full article here.

Biden picks housing advocate to lead FHA (POLITICO)

June 24, 2021

President Joe Biden will nominate housing nonprofit executive Julia Gordon to be the commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration, the White House said Thursday.

Gordon is the president of the National Community Stabilization Trust, which facilitates the rehabilitation of homes in underserved markets. She was also the housing director at the Center for American Progress and managed the single-family policy team at the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Click here to read more.

HUD, others unveil plan to increase Black homeownership (HousingWire)

June 23, 2021

Groups including the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) unveiled a plan Friday to increase Black homeownership significantly over the next 9 years. The agency says it will create 3 million more Black homeowners by 2030. Click here to read more.

How homeowners of color are threatened by climate change — and climate policy (Grist)

June 23, 2021

When Hurricane Harvey struck Texas in August 2017, it dumped 27 trillion gallons of rain on the greater Houston region, submerging about a quarter of the metropolitan area. To this day, it remains the wettest storm on record in the U.S. The hurricane, which research would later find was 15 percent more intense and three times as likely due to climate change, caused financial hardship for thousands of families. Click here to read more.

Are homes infrastructure? Biden’s proposal says better housing policy will improve access, affordability (NBC News)

June 18, 2021

The White House’s American Jobs Plan pushes the envelope on the definition of infrastructure, making the argument that where Americans live is a foundational component of the economy. The plan as proposed by the White House would funnel $213 billion into shoring up the nation’s supply of housing, with a focus on affordable housing and more inclusive neighborhoods. Click here to read more.

Biden’s First Task at Housing Agency: Rebuilding Trump-Depleted Ranks (The New York Times)

June 18, 2021

During the 2020 campaign, President Biden pledged to transform the Department of Housing and Urban Development into a frontline weapon in the fight against racial and economic inequality.

But when his transition team took over last fall, it found a department in crisis. Click here to read more.

The Black Homeownership Gap Is Worse. Here’s What’s Being Done. (Forbes)

June 18, 2021

As the country grapples with an affordable housing crisis, there’s an even larger issue of closing the gap in homeownership rates among Black Americans. The Biden administration and advocacy groups across the country are proposing various solutions, which we’ll cover, for a problem with deep roots. Click here to read more.

Biden pressed to go ‘big and bold’ in rooting out housing discrimination (Politico)

June 15, 2021

A government-wide push by President Joe Biden to combat disparities in how homes are valued is emerging as a major test of his pledge to narrow the racial wealth gap, with fair-housing advocates saying it may require a significant disruption of the housing market. Click here to read more.

California Aims to Eliminate Bias in Artificial Intelligence (Governing)

June 10, 2021

A new bill would require AI developers to evaluate privacy risks, assess the potential for discriminatory decisions and the state’s Department of Technology would need to approve the software before its use in the public sector. Click here to read more.

HUD to reinstate Obama-era fair housing rule gutted under Trump — minus the ‘burdensome’ reporting requirement (The Washington Post)

June 9, 2021

Nearly a year after the Trump administration replaced an Obama-era fair housing rule that critics decried as “burdensome” and that President Donald Trump alleged would “abolish” suburbs, President Biden’s housing department is restoring the requirement that communities take steps to reduce racial segregation or risk losing federal funds. Click here to read more.

‘Unprecedented’ Indiana housing market leads to concern over FHA buyers being pushed out (CBS 4 Indianapolis)

June 8, 2021

In a housing market with high demand and the lowest inventory in almost 15 years, fair housing experts expressed worry that some buyers’ loan type is keeping them from competing for homes. Click here to read more.

Racial Equity Rises to the Top at Nationwide (Columbus Monthly)

June 2, 2021

George Floyd’s killing sparked a trend in corporate giving.

In the immediate aftermath of the 46-year-old Black man’s death under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer and the worldwide protests that followed, Columbus-based Nationwide announced in June a $1 million, multiyear commitment to support organizations that combat racism and promote economic empowerment. The company is one of several with large Central Ohio footprints—including JPMorgan Chase, KeyBank and CVS Health—that have recently announced major contributions to social justice causes. Click here to read more.

Loan preference is shutting some FHA-backed buyers out of Philly area’s hot housing market (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

May 24, 2021

Norma Eason always wanted to buy a home and believed that, now, she was ready.

The 31-year-old bolstered her savings and researched home buying. Eason, a custodian at the University of Pennsylvania, and her husband, who works in construction, got preapproved for a loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration. They started their search in March for a place for them and their four young children. Read more here.

Is 2021 the YIMBY Movement’s Time to Shine on Capitol Hill? (Reason)

May 17, 2021

The YIMBY movement isn’t quite a high-density household name yet. But its focus on peeling back government regulations on new development is starting to make a bipartisan splash on Capitol Hill.

Last week, Sens. Todd Young (R–Indiana) and Brian Schatz (D–Hawaii) reintroduced the Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) Act, a law aimed at pruning back red tape in states and localities that receive certain federal housing grants. “Discriminatory local zoning and land use policies drive up housing costs in communities across America,” said Young in a press release. “My legislation will require cities, towns, and rural areas across America to face this reality under a new level of transparency and encourage them to cut these harmful regulations.” Click here to read more.

Biden targets housing rules that hurt low-income earners. Will the suburbs buy in? (LA Times)

May 19, 2021

The enduring image of the American Dream is owning a tidy single-family house behind a white picket fence in the suburbs.

But for many people of color and low-income earners, that part of the American dream is fleeting, in part because of exclusionary zoning laws. Click here to read more.

Op-ed: From a longtime mayor: The root causes of what holds back Black and brown suburbs (Chicago Tribune)

May 14, 2021

During a recent panel discussion sponsored by the South Suburban Housing Center on the topic of “Reviving Hardest Hit Communities,” Lisa Rice, president of the National Fair Housing Alliance, made the comment that banks across the nation seem to be closing branches in predominantly minority communities at a much higher rate than elsewhere. Read more here.

AI Lending Discrimination Needs To Be Tackled With Legislation Says House Financial Services Chair (Forbes)

May 7, 2021

Artificial Intelligence (AI) discrimination in lending needs to be tackled with legislation, House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA) said today.

“We cannot wait for (federal financial regulatory agencies) to do better. We have to force better,” she told a Financial Services AI Task Force hearing. Click here to read more.

North suburban man’s COVID mortgage forbearance nightmare (Chicago Sun Times)

May 7, 2021

Like millions of homeowners, Gregg Pupecki of Beach Park accepted mortgage forbearance — an interest-free pause in his payments — during the coronavirus pandemic.

A first-time homeowner, Pupecki loves his two-story house, which he bought in 2012. So he paid attention when he got a notice from his loan servicer in February demanding an immediate payment of $12,475 “to bring your loan current.”

“Failure … may result in fees and the loss of your home due to foreclosure,” the document read. Click here to read more.

Homes in Black neighborhoods are valued less than similar homes in white areas (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

April 28, 2021

When Jillian White’s parents decided years ago to refinance their home in Westchester County, N.Y., they chose not to hide family photos, books, and other evidence they are Black ahead of the appraiser’s visit, despite knowing that appraisers’ racial bias has sometimes translated into lower home valuations. White, who runs the appraisal department at the New York-based Better Mortgage Corp., testified at a Philadelphia City Council committee hearing Monday that the appraiser undervalued the family’s house by $100,000, which she attributes to racial bias. Click here to read more.

Council considers racial bias in home appraisals (Philly Metro Newspaper)

April 26, 2021

Stories abound in the Black community about bias in the home appraisal process.

Some owners looking to refinance will take down family photos or remove books about race to “whiten” their house, and many have received low-balled valuations. Click here to read more.

Walter Mondale’s Decades-Long Crusade for Fair Housing and the Full Promise of Civil Rights (The Nation)

April 23, 2021

On April 5, 1968, the day after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the youngest members of the United States Senate took the floor of the chamber and declared, “The foremost proponent of a nonviolent confrontation between the races is dead. His generosity to the white man, his belief in the basic good will of all men, and his dramatic, nonviolent action enabled him to speak to both races,” declared Walter Mondale, a 40-year-old Democrat who had emerged as one of chamber’s most ardent advocates for civil right.

“In the days ahead, we must act to fulfill King’s dream,” said Mondale, who died Monday at age 93. Click here to read more.

Black homes undervalued by $45K compared to white counterparts (National Mortgage News)

April 20, 2021

The racial imbalance in home values have shown few signs of progress over the past eight years…

“In many instances, the policies in the marketplace today have a discriminatory effect and operate to entrench racial wealth and equity, limiting communities of color and other underserved communities from accessing credit and home equity,” Morgan Williams, general counsel at the National Fair Housing Alliance, said in an interview. “Those practices abuse the market in so many varied ways that addressing the problem will take dismantling the discrimination and bias in those various facets.”…

Passed down from now-illegal redlining practices, those undervaluations compound over time and perpetuate the racial wealth gap, which is expected to widen in the pandemic recovery. Click here to read more.

Trump gutted Obama-era housing discrimination rules. Biden’s bringing them back. (The Washington Post).

April 13, 2021

Housing Secretary Marcia L. Fudge moved this week to reinstate fair housing regulations that had been gutted under President Donald Trump, in one of the most tangible steps that the Biden administration has taken thus far to address systemic racism. Click here to read more.