The Connecticut Fair Housing Center is Part of $53 Million Dollar Settlement with Fannie Mae

Along with 21 other fair housing organizations across the country, the Connecticut Fair Housing Center (“the Center”) and Fannie Mae have reached a landmark settlement in a decade-old investigation into unfair and unequal maintenance and marketing practices. The shared settlement will be reinvested in communities to ensure that everyone has access to the housing of their choice.

In the 2016 Federal Court complaint, the Connecticut Fair Housing Center and the other plaintiffs alleged that Fannie Mae maintained and marketed its foreclosed homes in predominantly White neighborhoods while allowing similar homes in communities of color to fall into disrepair. This differential treatment exacerbated the damage caused by the 2008 mortgage crisis and impeded recovery from the crisis in neighborhoods of color. The case was the first time a federal court confirmed the nation’s fair housing laws cover the maintenance and marketing of Real Estate Owned (REO) properties.

The plaintiffs’ 2016 allegations against Fannie Mae arose after a comprehensive, four-year investigation of more than 2,300 Fannie Mae-owned foreclosed properties in 39 metropolitan areas in the country. The plaintiffs collected more than 49,000 photographs revealing poorly maintained properties in Black and Latino communities, particularly as compared to properties in predominantly White neighborhoods. In Connecticut, between 2010 – 2015, mostly white neighborhoods were beginning to recover while Black and Hispanic neighborhoods still had a surplus of foreclosed homes, now REO properties. When it became evident to the Center that recovery efforts were not equal, the Center staff joined the national investigation and began comparing the conditions of Fannie Mae REO properties in neighborhoods of color and comparable Fannie Mae REO homes in white neighborhoods.

Foreclosure Yard Signs

“Our staff consistently challenges the systems that have left segregated neighborhoods without resources. “

Erin Kemple

 

Erin Kemple, executive director of the Center explains, “Our staff consistently challenges the systems that have left segregated neighborhoods without resources. Fannie Mae has committed to continuing and implementing practices that will help avoid similar harmful treatment of communities of color in the future and we look forward to working alongside them.”

The Center and other fair housing groups are represented by law firms Relman Colfax PLLC and Dane Law LLC, Morgan Williams, NFHA’s General Counsel, and Julia Howard-Gibbon, Supervising Attorney of Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California.

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