Print & Online Coverage

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.’s fair housing legacy (Marketplace)

January 18, 2021

The Fair Housing Act was introduced in 1966, thanks to pressure from Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders. But for two years, the bill went nowhere.

“When that bill died in Congress, a bit of democracy died,” King said in a 1967 speech at Stanford University. “A bit of our commitment to justice died.”

Then on April 4, 1968, King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Amid the public outrage that followed, President Lyndon Johnson pushed Congress to pass the legislation in King’s honor. Read more here.

Source of income discrimination — let’s end it (Daily Herald)

January 13, 2021

In the age of coronavirus and with an economy on the brink of catastrophe, none of us can afford to turn our noses up at government aid. Many were happy to receive those checks in the mail last year. And I am sure we all know at least one of the more than one million people that have applied for unemployment assistance in Illinois since March. Click here to read more.

Operator to expand training, pay $162,500 to settle lawsuit alleging discrimination (McKnight’s Senior Living)

January 5, 2021

Leisure Care will expand staff training and pay $162,500 in damages, attorneys’ fees and other costs to settle a lawsuit that alleged that the company violated the rights of people who are deaf or hard of hearing by not providing American Sign Language interpreters and not paying for interpreter services, and for steering of families of prospective residents who are deaf or hard of hearing to other senior living communities.

The National Fair Housing Alliance, which had filed lawsuits in May against Leisure Care and several other senior living operators, announced the settlement with the company on Thursday. The NFHA said the implementation of the terms of the agreement will result in expanded housing options for older adults who are deaf or hard of hearing. Click here to read more.

Nationwide’s Commitment to Combat Racism Highlights National Trend (Columbus CEO)

January 4, 2021

During a national reckoning on race, some companies are dedicating funds to social justice organizations.

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.

Judge halts enforcement of diversity training crackdown on contractors (Washington Technology)

January 4, 2021

A federal judge in a California district court blocked parts of President Donald Trump’s executive order on diversity and inclusion training that apply to federal contractors and grant recipients.

The September executive order targeted “divisive concepts” that it labelled as “offensive and anti-American” in workforce diversity and inclusion trainings provided to federal employees, military service members, federal contractors and grant recipients. It’s garnered backlash from civil rights groups, business and tech groups while creating a chilling effect in diversity training both in and out of government. Click here to read more.

Federal District Court Issues Nationwide Temporary Ban on Executive Order 13950 (The National Law Review)

December 29, 2020

On December 22, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a nationwide preliminary injunction banning the enforcement of Sections 4 and 5 of Executive Order 13950 (EO 13950), a sweeping federal directive whose stated aim is “to combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating” by prohibiting federal contractors and grantees from inculcating such views in their diversity and inclusion workplace trainings. Click here to read more.

Biden allies push back on sweeping plan to promote fair housing (POLITICO)

December 25, 2020

Donald Trump scrapped an Obama-era rule on housing. Some local officials hope Joe Biden doesn’t simply restore it as is. …

“Blacks and Latinos are more likely to live in health deserts with fewer health care facilities, dentists, primary care physicians,” said Lisa Rice, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance. The 2015 rule “was designed to fix all of these structural issues. And instead of enforcing AFFH, Trump has eviscerated it.”

The data and assessment tools folded into the original Obama rule may need to be “updated,” she said, but the regulation itself is critical to addressing systemic racism. Click here to read more.

AI could amplify racial discrimination in housing (Axios)

December 22, 2020

Racial biases in technology and artificial intelligence can amplify discrimination in the housing market for people of color, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance Lisa Rice said at an Axios Event aired Tuesday. Read more here.

Experts Say Homeowners Exiting Forbearance Will Need Outreach, Assistance (Mortgage News Daily)

December 21, 2020

The Urban Institute (UI) recently held a webinar with housing experts to look at distress in the housing market. In a report on the findings, researchers Jung Hyun Choi and Daniel Pang say that, as of November, 3.7 million homeowners who had taken advantage of forbearance as the pandemic began have left the programs while 3.2 million others continue to struggle. About 2.8 million remain in active forbearance while another 369,000 are delinquent on payments but are not in plans. Many of those in active forbearance have reached their sixth month, requiring them to either leave their plans or request an extension. Click here to read more.

National Fair Housing Alliance Issues A Policy Roadmap For The Biden Administration (Forbes)

December 19, 2020

In an effort to reverse the Trump administration’s legacy on weakening enforcement of fair housing laws, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) has released a detailed policy roadmap for the incoming Biden-Harris administration and the 117th Congress to ensure communities of color can bounce back in full force post-pandemic. The plan is centered around four key goals and corresponding actions to be taken on day one, in the first 100 days and during the first year in office. Click here to read more.

Housing industry welcomes Fudge as next HUD secretary (HousingWire)

December 10, 2020

This week, President-elect Joe Biden chose Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, to be the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Now, the housing industry is welcoming HUD’s next potential leader. Click here to read more.

Tax credits and rental assistance: How the Biden administration could reshape the country’s housing market (MarketWatch)

December 10, 2020

From the early days of the Democratic primaries to the debates between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, the 2020 presidential candidates spent a lot of time talking about housing — and that’s somewhat unusual. Read the full story here.

Indianapolis Landlord Accused of Asking Tenant for Sex Pays $45,000 in Settlement (93.1 FM WIBC)

December 1, 2020

An Indianapolis landlord accused of soliciting sex in exchange for rent has agreed to pay $45,900 to settle a lawsuit.

Abigail Savage said the landlord, Henry Long, offered to cancel her rent payment if she had sex with him. She had been furloughed from her job in Irvington back in March because of the coronavirus, which made it more difficult for her to earn money. Read the full story here.

Jacksonville man sues after HOA tells him to take down Black Lives Matter flag (First Coast News)

November 24, 2020

A Jacksonville homeowners association faces a federal civil rights lawsuit after it told a resident to take down his Black Lives Matter flag even as neighbors flew other political messages, including Blue Lives Matter flags.

Antoine Mickle bought his home by Kernan and Atlantic boulevards nearly 19 years ago. Since then, he said in a Tuesday news conference, he’s faced harassment from the association. Read more here.

Biden’s first 100-day challenge: Transition to a more inclusive economy (The Philadelphia Tribune)

November 24, 2020

The tumultuous 2020 presidential election triggered a record number of participating voters. Never before had so many people cast their preferences. And similarly, together substantiated how divided the nation is.

For Black America, the financial ravages of the year have brought deeper and more devastating circumstances to bear. Click here to read more.

The Property Line: 8 Housing and Mortgage Trends for 2021 (NASDAQ)

November 18, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to touch every corner of the housing market in 2021. It will keep mortgage rates low and affect who will be able to buy homes.

That’s not all. A wave of foreclosures will begin in 2021 unless lenders, nonprofits and the federal government coordinate effectively to prevent it. And housing inequality almost surely will get worse. Click here to read more.

Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice? (The Regulatory Review)

November 17, 2020

President Donald J. Trump tweeted this past summer that “all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream  … will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood.”

But critics claim that, in boasting about a new so-called fair housing regulation, President Trump’s tweet panders to “racist fears.” Housing advocates and civil rights groups largely denounce the new rule, raising concerns that it does not fulfill the mandate of the Fair Housing Act. Click here to read more.

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.