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Housing discrimination stories sought

January 25, 2007
Have you ever been turned away from housing because you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender? If so, the Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan and Triangle Foundation want to hear from you.
     FHC-Southeast is joining three other Michigan FHCs to release a report about housing discrimination against same-sex couples later this month, and they are looking for personal stories of housing discrimination to put a face on this important issue. Personal stories will be released to the media (with personal information deleted on request), used in future studies, and possibly used to spur complaint investigations.

Most Americans see lingering racism -- in others

December 12, 2006
Most Americans, white and black, see racism as a lingering problem in the United States, and many say they know people who are racist, according to a new poll.
     But few Americans of either race -- about one out of eight -- consider themselves racist.
     And experts say racism has evolved from the days of Jim Crow to the point that people may not even recognize it in themselves.

Poll: Most Americans see lingering racism -- in others

December 12, 2006
Most Americans, white and black, see racism as a lingering problem in the United States, and many say they know people who are racist, according to a new poll.
     But few Americans of either race -- about one out of eight -- consider themselves racist.
     And experts say racism has evolved from the days of Jim Crow to the point that people may not even recognize it in themselves.
     A poll conducted last week by Opinion Research Corp. for CNN indicates that whites and blacks disagree on how serious a problem racial bias is in the United States.
     Almost half of black respondents -- 49 percent -- said racism is a "very serious" problem, while 18 percent of whites shared that view. Forty-eight percent of whites and 35 percent of blacks chose the description "somewhat serious."

Tenants suffering for landlord’s crime

December 04, 2006
In a perfect example of mindless bureaucracy, 30 low-income tenants living in apartment buildings owned by Metropolitan Management Group are being evicted as a result of a crime they had no part in committing.
     At the direction of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Reading Housing Authority sent the eviction no-tices after Kevin J. Timochenko, owner of the company, pleaded guilty to stealing natural gas from UGI Utilities Inc.

Do Zillow.com's estimates violate federal consumer laws?

November 13, 2006
Zillow.com offers free, instant online home valuations ("Zestimates") for more than 67 million houses and condominiums. Launched in February of this year, the site already boasts more than 3 million daily visitors.
     On Zillow, visitors can zoom in on a house, check its value, check out the values of other properties on the same street and neighborhood, and see satellite photos of them all. "Zestimates'' can be found not only on Zillow itself, but also on Yahoo.com and real estate brokerage sites.

Study: Loan discrimination rampant: Mortgage brokers found to treat minorities, whites differently

July 09, 2006
Under federal law, your race or ethnicity should have no bearing on your mortgage’s cost, nor on the service you receive as you shop for a home loan. However, a new two-year investigation into mortgage practices in six cities found “pervasive discriminatory and predatory practices by mortgage brokers” in all markets studied.

Editorial: Housing Discrimination

July 07, 2006
Racism in the United States can take many forms. Some are as obvious as slurs shouted from cars or hate crimes; others are less apparent. One of racism’s covert guises is housing discrimination. In April the National Fair Housing Alliance released its fair housing trends report, Unequal Opportunity—Perpetuating Housing Segregation in America. Based on a multiyear study in 12 metropolitan areas, it found that illegal practices by a number of real estate agents were perpetuating residential segregation, which persists throughout the nation today.

Steering a course for fairer housing

July 06, 2006
There was a time, almost a decade ago, when wooing workers to Long Island was part of my job.
     I'd sit them down, singing the region's considerable praises and 'fess up, early on, that the cost of living was astronomical, but worth the price.
     Once a job offer had been accepted, the talk would turn to housing, where to look, and where to rent or buy.

Online peers stand up for Craigslist in lawsuit

June 28, 2006
Google, Amazon.com, AOL and Yahoo are helping defend online peer Craigslist against a lawsuit that would hold the Web site liable for discriminatory housing ads that appeared on its site.
     The online companies last week filed an amicus brief in the U.S. district court case in Chicago, saying a ruling against Craigslist could have "extremely negative implications" for the growth of online services. The brief was also signed by eBay Inc., which owns 25 percent of Craigslist, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, among others. Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Inc. v. Craigslist Inc., No. 06C-0657 (N.D. Ill.).

Why do minorities receive more subprime mortgages? Can you say, kickback?

June 14, 2006
A new Center for Responsible Lending study shoots holes in industry rationale that bad credit histories of African-Americans and Latinos account for disproportionate subprime mortgages.
     SocialFunds.com -- In September 2005, the Fed released year 2004 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data revealing significant disparities between what white borrowers and what African-American and Latino borrowers pay for subprime mortgages. The subprime lending industry dismissed charges of racism, suggesting that African-Americans' and Latinos' shakier credit histories and lower down payments (among other potential explanations) justified the higher rates charged.

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