MVFHC, National Fair Housing Alliance and 19 Other Civil Rights Groups File Federal Lawsuit Over Neglected Foreclosures
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December 6th, 2016 — The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center (MVFHC), the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and 19 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 lawsuit is the result of a multi-year investigation. During the past several years, Fannie Mae was notified 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 with 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.
Statement from Shanna Smith, President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, on President-elect Trump’s Selection to Lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development
December 6th, 2016 — Shanna L. Smith, President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), issued the following statement on the selection of Dr. Ben Carson as the proposed Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development:
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) plays a crucial role in our nation’s communities. HUD’s many programs help ensure that each of us has a safe, decent and affordable home in which to live, creating a stable foundation for success in life. They also help to create vibrant, healthy communities that provide their residents with access to the opportunities they need to flourish.
Perhaps most important of all is the role that HUD plays in enforcing the Fair Housing Act, so that no one seeking housing is turned away because of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, family status or disability. There are an estimated 4 million acts of housing discrimination each year. This discrimination not only violates the law, it runs counter to our country’s strongly-held values of fairness and equal opportunity. We need a strong leader at HUD who believes in fair housing and will enforce our fair housing rights with vigor and determination.
A critical component of HUD’s fair housing responsibilities is its work to carry out the mandate it was given by Congress to break down the barriers created by the many decades of government policies that explicitly created segregated communities, to the detriment of the people in those communities and our nation as a whole. This mandate recognizes that where you live matters, because it determines your access to good jobs, good schools, reliable and affordable transportation, a clean and safe environment, and many other aspects of your life. Fulfilling this mandate requires strategic use of federal and other resources both to reinvest in neighborhoods—often poor communities of color—that have been neglected and left behind, and to connect more affordable housing with good schools, jobs and the like. This is a mandate that the next HUD secretary must embrace.
Through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), HUD also plays an important role in the mortgage market. FHA has been a major source of home purchasing for people of color, as well as those with modest incomes. It has put thousands of families on a safe and sustainable path to building wealth that they can use to send their children to college, start or expand a small business, pay for retirement, and pass along to the next generation. FHA helped to stabilize the mortgage market in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the tidal wave of foreclosures that accompanied it, a national tragedy that must never be repeated. Households of color represent the majority of new household formation and will be the majority of new home buyers in the future. If they lack access to safe, affordable and sustainable credit, this country will not have a robust housing market and the economy will suffer. The new HUD secretary must understand and support this role for FHA.
Should Dr. Carson be confirmed by Congress, NFHA and its members are committed to working with him and the next administration to continue the important work of the Fair Housing Act—protecting individuals and families from discrimination, and building strong neighborhoods that provide their residents with robust opportunities for success.
Annual meeting moving to February
2016 Annual meeting will be Wednesday, February 8, 2017
At its regularly scheduled meeting in October 2016, the board of the directors of the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center decided to change the date of the corporation’s annual meeting from December to February of each year.
The board meeting on Wednesday, December 14, 2016, will be a regular one, held at 12 noon at 505 Riverside Drive, and the 2016 annual meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 8, 2017, at a location to be announced. Future annual meetings will be held on the second Wednesday in February each year thereafter.
All MVFHC members are invited to attend the annual meeting and to participate in the election of new board members as well as new officers.
Previous news items are available here.
Resources and useful links
Fair Housing webinars
In conjunction with the Greater Dayton Apartment Association, MVFHC is offering one-hour fair housing webinars on the second Thursday
of every other month in 2017. For more information, visit our GDAA webinar page
Reasonable Modifications and Accommodations
Have questions about what your rights or responsibilities are under the federal Fair Housing Act for persons with disabilities? Now available online in the Services/Reference section are joint statements from the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development that explain reasonable modifications
HomeOwnership Center of Greater Dayton
The Home Ownership Center
is a non-profit organization that empowers local residents to achieve and sustain homeownership and financial success. They’ve helped thousands of individuals and families meet their homeownership goals through a variety of services offered at low or no cost. You can reach the HomeOwnership Center at 937-853-1600
If you shop at Amazon.com, did you know that by shopping instead at smile.amazon.com you can direct 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charity of your choice?
MVFHC is an eligible charity, and we’d appreciate your support. Designate MVFHC as your Amazon Smile charity today.
Service Animal Policy
A Service Animal Policy
is now available available online in the Services/Reference section. The policy explains what service animals are and how they are a reasonable accommodation under the Federal Fair Housing Act and also provides practice guidelines for housing providers
and for tenants
Additional Landlord/Tenant info
Also, if you are a landlord or a tenant wanting information on your rights and duties under Ohio law, the Dayton-Montgomery County Ombudsman's Office has a page about landlord/tenant issues
Mobile Home Park residents
rights and responsibilities
A booklet outlining your rights and responsibilities when renting mobile homes or lots in mobile home parks is available on the Ohio Legal Services website
Fair Housing Advertising Word and Phrase List
A word and phrase list
intended as a guideline to assist in complying with state and federal fair housing laws is available online in the Services/Reference section.
Equal Housing Opportunity usage guidelines
on the usage of the "Equal Housing Opportunity" logo and slogan are available online in the Services/Reference section.
Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST
is an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that promotes compliance with the Fair Housing Act design and construction requirements. Visit www.fairhousingfirst.org
for instruction programs and useful online resources.
is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. To learn how you can save money in your home, visit www.energystar.gov
Copies of special reports such as Analyses of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice released by local jurisdictions as well as other reports done by MVFHC on zoning and predatory lending are available on the reports