Ahead of the Labor Day weekend, we’ve compiled a sample of the fair housing news that’s been happening this week, from takeaways from HUD’s fair housing conference in D.C. to what’s happening in a couple of cities around the country with all things fair housing. Also, be sure to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for sprinkles of fair housingness in your day.
Walter Mondale, former Minnesota Senator, U.S. Vice President, and co-author of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, recently reflected on the legacy of the law since its passage, lamenting that the law “has not lived up to his expectations.” Speaking at the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s fair housing conference this week, Mondale remarked, “When the federal and state governments will pay to build new suburban highways, streets, sewers, schools and parks but then allow these communities to exclude affordable housing and non-white citizens, the goals of the Fair Housing Act are not fulfilled.” [TwinCities]
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has cleared the way for the city of Miami, Florida, to pursue charges against three banks for violating fair housing law for using discriminatory lending practices. The city claims that Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup all targeted Black and Latino customers for predatory loans that eventually led to “home foreclosures, lower property-tax revenues and increased costs for such things as police and fire services.” In the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007, Florida was one of the states most severely affected by the economy’s downfall – a crisis that the state still may not have recovered from. [FloridaRealtors, Wikipedia, HuffPo]
The importance of being able to defend against discrimination by way of disparate impact again proves vital to the preservation of fair housing, this time by way of a city in Arizona with the unlikely name of Surprise. The ACLU of Arizona has sued the city because of an ordinance that has had some fairly awful effects on victims of domestic violence (the majority of which are women). The ordinance in question permits landlords and property managers to evict a tenant if that tenant has called for police assistance more than four times within the span of 30 days. Nancy Markham, who received an eviction notice due to calls she made to the city’s police department because of domestic violence committed against her, elucidated on the danger of the ordinance. ““When you are dealing with constant abuse as I was, you may need police protection on multiple occasions,” she said in a statement. “The Surprise ordinance punished me for seeking much-needed emergency assistance.” [Tucson Weekly]
Is transportation inequality relevant to fair housing? According to these activists in Chicago, yes, it is. Very much so, in fact. It’s not enough to simply make efforts to create more affordable housing, say Brendan Saunders and Kyle Smith. They hope to “encourage the region to consider transit when thinking about HUD’s new mandates” that seek to address segregation and racism in cities like Chicago in order to make access to jobs and other needs more within reach. [Next City]
Finally, the Economic Police Institute released this insightful tool to help people calculate how much money they need to earn “in order to attain a secure yet modest standard of living” in the city they live in (or, perhaps, a city they’re considering living in). Unfortunately, for most people who calculate what kind of income they’ll need to keep their heads well above water, this tool will likely look like a dark mirror that reflects how much they’re not getting by. [Economic Policy Institute]