Center, DOH hosting forums to present study on Mixed Populations in Housing

Myth vs. Reality: Mixed Populations in State-Funded Elderly/Disabled Housing, presenting a study by CT Fair Housing and the CT Department of Housing. Join us at upcoming forums in East Haven, Hartford, and Darien. Click on slider to learn more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2017, the CT State Legislature requested a study of state-funded housing complexes that provide housing to both elderly tenants and younger tenants with disabilities.  The Center is partnering with the Connecticut Department of Housing to host three community forums around the state to present the findings of this study, separate myth from reality, identify best practices for handling areas of conflict, and discuss recommendations to ensure that state-funded elderly/disabled housing is available to all those who need it.

Join us at a forum near you:

East Haven
Tuesday, December 4th, 1-3pm at Hagaman Memorial Library (DeMayo Room) 227 Main Street, East Haven.  Limited parking is available in the library lot; additional parking is available on the street or in the adjacent Stop n’ Shop lot (please follow all signage).

Hartford
Thursday, December 6th, 10am-12pm at the Legislative Office Building – Hearing Room 1B

Darien
Friday, December 7th, 1-3pm – Darien Library (Louise Parker Berry Community Room), 1441 Post Road, Darien

Copies of the report will be distributed at each forum.  There will be time set aside for public comment at each event.  All locations are accessible.  Light refreshments will be provided in East Haven and Darien.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER 

Read Full Report: A Study of Tenants in State-Funded Elderly/Disabled Housing  
View Report Appendices

Warning – Fake “Office Assistant” Job Posting

The Center recently discovered a fake job posting online for an “Office Assistant” position purportedly at the Center.  This appears to be a scam aimed at getting personal information from applicants.  The Center is NOT currently hiring.  We are investigating the matter and working to get this posting removed. In the meantime, if anyone contacts you regarding an Office Assistant or any other job at the Center, please call us at 860-247-4400 or email us at info@ctfairhousing.org.  Thank you!

Center & NCLC File Federal Lawsuit Accusing Liberty Bank of Redlining

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center and the National Consumer Law Center today filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut against Liberty Bank, alleging that the bank has violated the Fair Housing Act by engaging in unlawful “redlining” of predominantly African-American and Latinx neighborhoods in the greater Hartford and New Haven metropolitan areas. “Redlining” is the discriminatory practice by banks or other financial institutions of denying or avoiding providing credit services to consumers because of the racial or ethnic demographics of their neighborhoods.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits financial institutions from discriminating on the basis of race and color in their mortgage lending practices. The complaint alleges that Liberty Bank has structured its residential mortgage lending business in such a way as to avoid serving the credit needs of Connecticut neighborhoods where a majority of residents are African-American and/or Latinx.

The bank’s alleged redlining practices include: excluding African-American and Latinx neighborhoods from the area it serves; intentionally locating branch offices and mortgage loan officers in only majority-white neighborhoods; and engaging in differential treatment of prospective loan applicants on the basis of race or ethnicity. An investigation by the Connecticut Fair Housing Center revealed that, going back to at least 2010, Liberty Bank has originated a significantly lower percentage of residential mortgage loans for properties in neighborhoods of color when compared with similar lenders.

“Redlining systematically denies people who live in neighborhoods of color access to homeownership, therefore denying them the opportunity to build wealth,” said Connecticut Fair Housing Center Executive Director Erin Kemple. “Unfortunately, fifty years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, the practice continues. Liberty Bank is choosing to offer less assistance to communities of color in violation of the state and federal fair housing laws.”

“Liberty Bank’s practices and timing are particularly disturbing in light of the continuing impact of the Great Recession on households of color in Connecticut and around the nation,” said National Consumer Law Center Director of Litigation Stuart Rossman. “Latinx families lost 66 percent of their wealth and African American families lost 53 percent of their wealth compared to 16 percent loss of wealth for White families. Depriving equal access to mortgage credit exacerbates the continually growing racial economic gaps in our society and perpetuates the very segregation in our neighborhoods that the Fair Housing Act was meant to reduce, if
not eliminate.”

Click here for a copy of the complaint

 

Media coverage of this case:

Southington branch included in lawsuit alleging housing bias by Liberty Bank (Meriden Record-Journal, October 11, 2018)
Nonprofits File Federal Housing Lawsuit Against Liberty Bank (CTNewsJunkie, October 8, 2018)
CT Bank Sued for Alleged Discriminatory Mortgage Lending (National Law Review, October 9, 2018)
2 Consumer Groups Hit Conn. Bank With Redlining Suit (Law360, October 5, 2018)
Discrimination Against Customers Alleged in Liberty Bank Federal Suit (Connecticut Law Tribune, October 5, 2018)
Liberty Bank Accused of Racial Discrimination in Lending Practices (Hartford Courant, October 4, 2018)
Liberty Bank Accused of Racial Discrimination in Lending Practices (NY Daily News, October 4, 2018)
Lawsuit alleges discriminatory lending practices by Liberty Bank (Hartford Business Journal, October 4, 2018)

Center Files Federal Lawsuit Against National Tenant Screening Company

Arroyo v. CoreLogic seeks to establish precedent that screening companies must comply with Fair Housing Act

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center and the National Housing Law Project have filed a new lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut contending that CoreLogic Rental Property Solutions (“CoreLogic”) violates the Fair Housing Act by disproportionately disqualifying African-American and Latino applicants from securing housing based on discriminatory use of criminal records as rental criteria.Laptop with hands typing.

The lawsuit asserts that CoreLogic’s tenant screening tool denied a Connecticut mother’s request to move her disabled son into her apartment based on a record of a dismissed shoplifting arrest from 2014.  Although rental decisions have traditionally been made by housing providers, today many landlords contract with third-party tenant-screeners to make admission decisions for them.  This litigation seeks to ensure that CoreLogic and all tenant-screening companies who functionally make rental decisions on behalf of landlords make those decisions in accordance with fair housing requirements.

The chief plaintiff in the lawsuit is Carmen Arroyo, whose son Mikhail was injured in a July 2015 accident that left him unable to speak, walk, or care for himself.  After becoming his conservator, Carmen asked her landlord for permission to move Mikhail into her home.  But the “CrimSAFE” background report from CoreLogic stated that Mikhail had a “disqualifying [criminal] record,” denying him the opportunity to move in with his mother.

Given that Mikhail’s only “criminal record” was the dismissed charge from 2014 and that his recent disabilities rendered him incapable of posing a threat to anyone, Carmen might have been able to challenge the denial.  However, CoreLogic refused to provide the Arroyos a copy of the information it relied on to make the screening decision, information which they were entitled to receive under federal law.[1]  Nor did CoreLogic’s criminal background report provide any details about Mikhail’s underlying criminal history to the landlord—only a computer-generated notation that the application did not meet the landlord’s criteria.  Without this information, the Arroyos could not challenge Mikhail’s denial, so he remained in a nursing home for approximately a year longer than necessary.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits denying tenants on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or disability including practices and policies that unnecessarily disproportionately exclude members of a protected class.

Between 70 million and 100 million Americans have criminal records. Multiple studies have shown that across the country, African-Americans and Latinos are arrested, convicted, and incarcerated at disproportionate rates, even though whites report engaging in criminal behaviors (such as drug offenses, which account for over half of federal incarcerations) at similar rates to non-whites. [2],[3],[4],[5] This means policies which restrict admission for applicants with criminal records disproportionately deny housing opportunities to people of color.[6]  The federal government recognized this when HUD issued a 2016 guidance for landlords on how to evaluate criminal histories in accordance with the law.

This means that only criminal records which suggest an applicant poses a genuine and ongoing threat to persons or property should result in denial.[7]  HUD’s guidance specifically advises not to deny admission based on dismissed arrests – like Mr. Arroyo’s – or through “blanket prohibitions” that exclude applicants with any kind of criminal record without regard to the nature of the offense, how long ago it occurred, intervening changed circumstances, and other relevant factors.[8]

Instead, admissions processes should generally consider criminal records on a case-by-case basis.[9]   Automated criminal background checks with computer-generated scores and decisions—like CoreLogic’s “CrimSAFE”—are ill-suited to perform individualized assessments of applicant criminal history.  Tenant-screening software is programmed to apply standard rental admission criteria to criminal records data appearing in an applicant’s background check; the software does not evaluate whether an offense bears a meaningful relationship to housing, whether changed circumstances may significantly reduce the likelihood of an offense being repeated, or the myriad other possible factors that may relate to a criminal history admission decision.

Even so, automated tenant-screening methods—including for criminal history—are rapidly becoming the norm in rental admission screening.  Landlords commonly rely on the screening company’s determination of suitability, often—as with Carmen Arroyo’s landlord—not even receiving the underlying background information they would need to evaluate applicants individually.  Allowing computers to effectively make rental decisions will inevitably produce unjust denials for applicants like the Arroyos, whose circumstances do not fit neatly into pre-programmed screening algorithms.

A housing provider who blindly follows a screening company’s denial recommendations and has no viable process for individualized review or reconsideration thus follows a discriminatory policy under the Fair Housing Act.[10]  But the Fair Housing Act does not only apply to housing providers – it also covers individuals and companies who provide services in connection with housing, such as tenant-screening reports.[11]  When a tenant-screening company markets a criminal background report that contains only a bare “accept” or “decline” determination, and does not make underlying criminal history information available to allow a landlord to make an individualized assessment of a rejected applicant, the screening company’s “recommendation” is tantamount to the actual admission decision.

And if a tenant-screening company is going to make the actual decisions about who is admitted to housing and who is denied, then it’s important for that company to make those decisions within fair housing constraints, just as we expect landlords to do.

Ms. Arroyo and the Center, together with the National Housing Law Project, have brought an action seeking to hold CoreLogic accountable for its role in unlawfully denying housing to Mikhail Arroyo based on a discriminatory criminal records policy, and for failing to provide the Arroyos a copy of the criminal background report as required by federal law. This litigation seeks to ensure that CoreLogic and all tenant-screening companies follow fair housing requirements when they functionally make rental decisions on behalf of landlords make those decisions in accordance with fair housing requirements.

To read the Complaint, click here.

For questions about this case, please contact Greg Kirschner, Legal Director, at greg@ctfairhousing.org or (860) 263-0724.

 

[1] See 15 U.S.C. § 1681g(a) (“Every consumer reporting agency shall, upon request … clearly and accurately disclose to the consumer:  (1) All information in the consumer’s file at the time of the request…”).

[2] See, e.g., Alexander, Michelle, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (2010).

[3] See HUD, Office of General Counsel Guidance on Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real Estate-Related Transactions, p. 2 (Apr. 4, 2016).

[4] Taxy, Sam, et al., “Drug Offenders in Federal Prison: Estimates of Characteristics Based on Linked Data,” p. 2 (Table 1), Bureau of Justice Statistics (2015).

[5] See HUD, Office of General Counsel Guidance on Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real Estate-Related Transactions, p. 2 (Apr. 4, 2016).

[6] See HUD, Office of General Counsel Guidance on Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real Estate-Related Transactions, p. 2 (Apr. 4, 2016).

[7] See HUD, Office of General Counsel Guidance on Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real Estate-Related Transactions, p. 2 (Apr. 4, 2016).

[8] HUD, Office of General Counsel Guidance on Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real Estate-Related Transactions, p. 6 (Apr. 4, 2016).

[9] Id. at 7 (“Relevant individualized evidence might include: the facts or circumstances surrounding the criminal conduct; the age of the individual at the time of the conduct; evidence that the individual has maintained a good tenant history before and/or after the conviction or conduct; and evidence of rehabilitation efforts.”).

[10] See 24 C.F.R. § 100.500(b) (defining “legally sufficient justification”); see also HUD, Office of General Counsel Guidance on Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real Estate Related Transactions, pp. 6-7 (Apr. 4, 2016).

[11] See 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a)(b) (unlawful “to discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin”) (italics added).

Center Joins NFHA & Co-Plaintiffs in Lawsuit Alleging Housing Discrimination by Bank of America

Earlier this week, the Center joined the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), 18 other fair housing organizations, and two Maryland homeowners in filing a lawsuit against Bank of America and Safeguard Properties Management alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act. The lawsuit accuses Bank of America and Safeguard Properties of failing to maintain bank-owned properties in communities of color to the same level as their properties in white areas, amounting to discriminatory treatment that is illegal under federal fair housing law.

A rotted wooden porch railing, with view of yard in background showing trash on the ground.

One of the Bank of America-owned homes in New Haven.

For example, 45% of BOA-owned properties in communities of color had major maintenance problems – such as unkempt lawns, pests and rodents, boarded-up windows, and trash in the yard – compared with just 11% of the bank’s properties in white neighborhoods.  Their neglect affects property values, health & safety in these communities.

The lawsuit is the result of a multi-year investigation by NFHA and fair housing agencies across the country, including the Center. Together, we investigated more than 1,600 Bank of America-owned homes in working- and middle-class white, African-American, and Latino neighborhoods in 37 metropolitan areas nationwide, including in Connecticut.

Lisa Rice, the CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, said, “Bank of America and Safeguard’s intentional failure to correct their discriminatory treatment in African American and Latino neighborhoods—the same communities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis—is systemic racism. The purposeful neglect of bank-owned homes in communities of color devalues the properties and the lives of the families in the neighborhoods around them. The health and safety hazards created by these blighted bank-owned homes negatively affect the residents, especially the children, living nearby. We have asked Bank of America and Safeguard to provide the same standard of routine exterior maintenance and marketing for all of its bank-owned homes, regardless of the age, value, or racial composition of the neighborhood in which they are located.”

Other key findings from the investigation:

  • 64% of Bank of America properties in communities of color had trash or debris visible on the property, while only 31% of the bank’s properties in predominantly white neighborhoods had trash visible on the property.
  • 37% of Bank of America properties in communities of color had unsecured or broken doors, while only 16% of their properties in predominantly white neighborhoods had unsecured or broken doors.

Read the full details and view more photos from the investigation in NFHA’s press release. 

Read the Washington Post’s recent coverage of this case.

 

This post summarized and paraphrased a press release from the National Fair Housing Alliance.

Don’t miss this year’s Loving Civil Rights Award Dinner!

It’s hard to believe that this year is the Center’s 10th annual Mildred & Richard Loving Civil Rights Award Dinner!  Whether you’ve been coming since the beginning or you’re thinking about joining us for the first time, here are a few frequently asked questions about this annual event:

What’s with the long name? 

Mildred and Richard Loving - Man with arm around woman

Mildred and Richard Loving

In 1958, just five weeks after they were married, Mildred and Richard Loving were arrested in their Virginia home in the middle of the night.  Their crime? Living together as an interracial couple.  A judge gave them a choice: go to jail or leave the state of Virginia.  They chose the latter, leaving behind friends and family and the close-knit community where they’d spent their entire lives.  It was the ultimate form of housing discrimination.  For years, the Lovings lived in exile in Washington, D.C., barred from even visiting their hometown.  They started a family of their own and tried to move on, but never stopped dreaming of the day they could return home.

By the mid-1960s, the Civil Rights Movement was making national headlines, and Mildred Loving was inspired to write to Attorney General Robert Kennedy to ask for help.  He directed her to the ACLU, which took on the Lovings’ case – eventually all the way to the Supreme Court.  The landmark 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia effectively overturned bans on interracial marriage in 16 states.

Like most of the clients we serve here at the Center, the Lovings were regular people who never intended to become civil rights activists.  They simply wanted to live their lives together in the place they chose to call home.  But thanks to their courage and persistence, they not only won the right to move back home to Virginia, but ensured that no other family in America would face the same kind of discrimination – at least not legally – again.  It seemed quite fitting to name our annual civil rights award after them.

Learn more about the Lovings in the Oscar-nominated 2016 feature film or the 2012 documentary by 2014 Loving honoree, Susie Ruth Powell.

 

Two women smiling, holding a length of raffle tickets

Be sure to get your House of Wine tickets at the dinner!

Where does my money go?

All proceeds from the Loving Award Dinner benefit the Center’s work to ensure that all people have equal access to housing opportunities in Connecticut, free from discrimination.  When you register for the dinner, bid on our live auction items (more on those in a minute), buy a roll of tickets for a chance to win our House of Wine ($20 gets you an arm’s length of tickets to win 50 bottles!), or donate in other ways throughout the night, you’re helping us to:

  • Provide information and free legal assistance to over 1,100 Connecticut residents each year facing housing discrimination or home foreclosure – people like Towanna, Natalie, Charles, Mavis, and so many others.   We continue to see housing discrimination against people with disabilities, people of color, families with children, people with housing vouchers, and other protected groups every day, in every corner of the state.  CT’s foreclosure rate remains in the top 10 in the country.
  • Conduct research, testing, and analysis to assess systemic barriers to fair housing in Connecticut’s housing markets, and we challenge those barriers when we uncover them.
  • Provide education and outreach on the fair housing laws to thousands of residents, housing providers, social service providers, and others, and organize foreclosure prevention clinics statewide.
  • Advocate for policies and practices that protect equal access to housing, defend homeowners’ rights, and promote integrated, inclusive communities.

 

Two women hold bid numbers in the air at an auction.

What will you bid on this year?

What will I see in this year’s auction?

If you’ve attended in past years, you’ll find a mix of old favorites and new items to bid on!   Here are just a few:

  • Winner’s Choice – Authentic Mexican Dinner for 8 in Your Home *OR* Mexican Cooking Class in Your Kitchen!
  • Family ticket pack to Hershey Park + $250 gift card towards your lodging or meals!
  • Champagne Brunch in a Treehouse – a perennial favorite!
  • Family Fun packages – sporting events, museum memberships, ski passes, and more!
  • Local Theater & Dinner Packages
  • And more unique and fun items!

Plus, don’t forget about our famous House of Wine – a chance to win a hand-selected mix of 50 reds and whites, enough to stock your wine cellar (everyone has one of those, right?) for a year… or maybe just for the summer – we won’t judge.

 

Who’s being honored this year?

Betsy Julian

Betsy Julian, 2018 Loving Award honoree

This year, we’re commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act.   Because this work is far from over, our 2018 honorees are continuing the fight for fair housing today.

  • Betsy Julian is our 2018 Loving Civil Rights Award recipient.  In 2015, her organization, Inclusive Communities Project, won one of the most important fair housing cases to reach the Supreme Court in years.  The decision ruled that policies which even inadvertently cause racial segregation or negatively impact a protected class – such as when a city concentrates all of its affordable housing in a neighborhood of color (“disparate impact”) – are illegal under the Fair Housing Act.  This landmark ruling will help to fully realize the original goals of the Fair Housing Act to not only prevent individual housing discrimination but also address the decades of systemic discrimination that led to segregated communities across the country–paving the way for more integrated communities that welcome all people.  Ms. Julian will also be this year’s keynote speaker.  Read more about the Inclusive Communities case here.
  • CT Dept. of Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein and State Rep. Roland Lemar are the recipients of this year’s Edward M. Kennedy Legislative Advocacy Award.  They are co-chairs of the state’s new Fair Housing Working Group, bipartisan group of legislators, housing policy experts, fair housing advocates (including the Center) and developers formed in September 2017. The goal of the working group is to help remove systemic barriers to fair housing choice that have been in place for decades.  Under the leadership of Commissioner Klein and Rep. Lemar, the working group has already sent multiple proposals to the state’s general assembly aimed at improving accountability and enforcement for fair and affordable housing policy, promoting inclusionary zoning and supporting transit-oriented development.  The group will continue its work and hopes to address more systemic barriers to fair housing choice in the future.
  • Open Communities Alliance (OCA), Crystal Carter, and Tiara Moore are the recipients of one of this year’s Empowering Communities Awards.  In October 2017, they were co-plaintiffs in a lawsuit against HUD after it suspended its Small Area Fair Market Rent (SAFMR) Rule, which had been adopted in 2016.  The rule was designed to give families with housing choice vouchers greater access to higher-opportunity neighborhoods and promote residential integration.  The previous formula for calculating the value of housing vouchers had “effectively confined low income families to under-resourced neighborhoods by capping rents using a regional ‘average’ rent,” according to OCA.  The new rule was created to provide voucher holders with access to a wider range of housing options outside of segregated areas, by instead using average rents within zip codes to calculate the vouchers’ value.  In December, a federal judge ordered HUD to implement the SAFMR rule as of January 1st of this year.  The Center applauds  this important win, which will promote integration and give low-income families across the country greater access to opportunity. We especially recognize the courage of Ms. Carter and Ms. Moore, voucher holders directly impacted by the new rule, in standing up not only for their own fair housing rights, but for the rights of housing choice voucher holders across the country.
  • The Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library is the other Empowering Communities Award recipient this year.  The HHC provided invaluable assistance to the Center when we were developing our Fair Housing Tour of Hartford, an educational project of the Center that takes participants on a bus tour of Hartford to see the way policies and decisions over the past 100 years created the segregated region we see today.  Without access to the HHC’s treasure trove of Hartford photos, maps, and records, and help from their expert staff, the Center would not have been able to bring this project to life.

We guarantee you’ll leave feeling inspired to keep fighting for the rights of all people to live where they choose, free from discrimination because of who they are.

Crowd of people in a ballroom

Join us May 10th at the Bond Ballroom!

That all sounds great.  But what is there to eat?

This year, we’re excited to be able to offer new menu choices:

  • Flatiron Steak with Demi Glaze
  • Chicken Artichoke
  • Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa
  • Stuffed Portabello Mushroom w/Spinach & Boursin

…All served with warm bread, a mesclun greens salad with poached pears, feta, and balsamic, scalloped potatoes with caramelized onions, grilled asparagus, and in case you’re still hungry, New York cheesecake with cherries & whipped cream.  Yum!  Feel free to let us know about any allergies or dietary restrictions when you register.

A cash bar will be available throughout the event, or you can just wait to take home the House of Wine (good luck!).

 

Learn more about this year’s Loving Dinner and register here by May 4th!  Hurry, seats are filling up fast and tickets won’t be sold at the door!  

More questions about this year’s event, or prefer to register by phone?  Call Letty Ortiz at 860-247-4400.  

A Home to Call Our Own

Stacks of boxes in an office

Packing up our old office at 221 Main Street

It’s moving day!

For nearly 25 years, the Center has worked to ensure that everyone in Connecticut has equal access to the housing of their choice. Now, for the first time, we have a home to call our own!

Today, the Center is moving out of our longtime Hartford office at 221 Main Street and into our very own building at 60 Popieluszko Court (don’t worry – it’s going to take us a while to remember how to spell it, too).

 

The Center's building at 60 Popieluszko Court. A 3-story brick building.

Our new home at 60 Popieluszko Court, Hartford

It may be just around the corner, but this move is a huge change for the Center.  When we moved into our previous office nearly twenty years ago, the Center had a staff of three.  Today, we have a staff of fifteen and reach thousands of Connecticut residents each year.  Our conference room couldn’t fit our entire staff, and we had nowhere to host trainings or community events.  Now, we’ll have the space we need to meet with clients privately, host fair housing and foreclosure prevention classes, and yes, even sit together for those monthly staff meetings!

 

 

We’re proud to make this investment in Hartford’s vibrant Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhood and excited to be a part of the ongoing redevelopment of the old Capewell Horse Nail Factory complex.  (Update: thanks to Ken Gosselin from the Hartford Courant for covering the building purchase!).

The new office opens on Monday, April 23rd. Here’s to the next chapter of the Center’s work!

 

Want to see our new home and learn about what’s in store for the Center’s future?  We’ll be hosting an Open House on Thursday, June 7th from 5:30-7:30pm.  Join us!  

 

P.S. – Are you a first-time homebuyer, too?  Download our free Moving Forward Homebuyers’ Guide to learn everything you need to know to buy a home and protect your fair housing and lending rights in the process.

Executive Director on the 50th Anniversary of the FHA in CT Mirror’s Sunday Conversation

The Center’s Executive Director, Erin Kemple, was interviewed for The CT Mirror‘s Sunday Conversation this week, discussing where we are fifty years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act. Here are a few key quotes from the interview:

“The Fair Housing Act was passed to do two things: One was to outlaw discrimination, and the second was to promote integration. And it’s the promoting integration part that we have not made much headway in. If you look at the statistics, Connecticut is one of the most segregated areas in the country. Bridgeport is number four. When you look at white-Latino segregation, Hartford’s number seven. And all of Connecticut ranks in the top 10 percent for white-black segregation. […]

We have done a study, and it’s on our website, that shows that African-Americans who are high income, African-Americans making over $170,000 a year, are denied mortgages at twice the rate of whites making less than $70,000 dollars a year. So it’s not just about the money. And certainly when we do fair-housing testing, it’s not just about the numbers, and it’s not just about the money. We’re finding consistently that the African-Americans are not quoted the same mortgage rates as white people.  […]

We did some testing where we just had people walk into a bank branch. It was in an all-white neighborhood. A Latina says, ‘I’m on my lunch hour. I just need some information about what kinds of loans you have. Do you have anything in writing?’

‘No, we don’t do loans in this branch. You need to go to this other branch. We don’t have any information here.’

A white tester goes in about a half hour later. They have written information. They have offered to call a loan officer so that she can set up an appointment, and they are encouraging her. […]

We are segregated. We have housing, especially affordable housing, placed where it is because of decisions that were made by the government, by local governments, federal and state governments. So they are the ones that have to fix this, and this is why the zoning [legislation] that the governor was talking about [Wednesday at a celebration of the 50th anniversary] is so important. It is putting the onus back on the cities and the towns to open up their communities to people other than the people who have always lived there or who live there now.”

 

Read the rest of Erin Kemple’s interview with The CT Mirror here.

Special thanks to Mark Pazniokas from The CT Mirror for taking the time to chat with Erin.

Join us for the 39th Annual FHACt Conference!

Fair Housing Association of CT LogoThe Fair Housing Association of Connecticut (FHACt)’s 39th annual Fair Housing Conference is set for April 26th in Rocky Hill.  The 2018 Conference will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, discuss the issues of the day, and reinvigorate us as we look ahead.

The event will include a screening of “A House Divided,” the episode from last year’s acclaimed America Divided series exploring housing discrimination, segregation, and fair housing enforcement in New York City.   Following the screening, the Center will present on some of our recent fair housing testing results and other research to reveal what these issues look like here in Connecticut. The Center will then join staff from the CT Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities (CHRO) in facilitating an interactive exercise on using the concepts from “A House Divided” to spur action.

The conference’s keynote speaker will be Debby Goldberg from the National Fair Housing Alliance, and the day will conclude with a presentation on housing for formerly incarcerated people by “The Real Women of Orange is the New Black.”  It should be a powerful day of learning and inspiration for all of us who are committed to fair housing in Connecticut.

We hope to see you on April 26th!

Click here to see full details and learn how to register for the 2018 FHACt Conference.

 

Welcome to Our New Blog!

The Center is excited to announce our new blog!  We’ll be highlighting updates about the Center’s work, providing our perspective on fair housing news and issues from Connecticut and beyond, telling the stories of those most impacted by housing discrimination and foreclosure, and sharing helpful information about housing opportunities in Connecticut.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss a post!

Translate »