Greater Baltimore Community Housing Resource Board, Inc. (GBCHRB) January, 2006 / Vol.12, No. 1


FAIR HOUSING NEWS

A newsletter about fair housing, community development, and neighborhood quality of life


GREETINGS! Welcome to Fair Housing News!, a newsletter produced by the GBCHRB as a public service. Contact us for a free copy of any article or if you would like this e-mailed to you: 410-453-9500 / 800-895-6302 / mail@gbchrb.org. More info/resources: http://www.gbchrb.org.

MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY CELEBRATED

20th Martin Luther King Day Celebrated. Dr. King would have been 77. The annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade was held in downtown Baltimore, with the theme "Celebrating Yesterday's Victories, Facing Today's Challenges." In a speech the day before, the Rev. Benjamin L. Hooks, who worked with King, told a Glen Burnie crowd of 1,000 that "We still have work to do. The dream must not die." Amen. (Baltimore Sun, January 14, 2006:3B)

Taylor Branch Publishes Final Installment in Three-Volume Prize-Winning America in the King Years, a Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005, 1056pp., $35.00). Branch's first installment, Parting the Waters, won the Pulitzer Prize, and Branch keeps to the same extremely high standards of writing, research, and analysis. This volume, true to the 1965-1968 period it covers, focuses on the changing culture and politics. King realizes he must work on combating "nationalized racism" after his 1966 Chicago housing experience - e.g., the Cicero march/riot - shows it isn't just a Southern problem. Branch helps us understand the complexities of the operating forces, in a narrative that is very readable. There is a local connection: Branch is a Baltimore resident. Heartily recommended.

IN OTHER NATIONAL NEWS

The Number of Fair Housing Complaints Remain at Record Levels. HUD, State, and Local Agencies Received a 13% Increase in Fair Housing Complaints in FY2005. For the first time, disability cases surpassed race discrimination as the most common allegation in HUD complaints, and amounted to 41% of all complaints.

HUD Commends California Human Rights Agency for Winning $1 Million Settlement for Accessible Parking Space. The California Department of Fair Employment & Housing sued a landlord who refused to provide an accessible space to a San Francisco woman. The Superior Court settlement provided $1 Million in compensatory damages, an upper level parking space for the woman, and $2,650 to a private agency that had tried to intervene for the woman with the landlord. (HUD Fair Housing News, Fall-Winter-2005:2-3)

Study of NIMBYism Labels It "Major Obstacle." In this update to its acclaimed 1991 analysis Not in My Back Yard: Removing Barriers to Affordable Housing, HUD concluded that "NIMBYism continues to prompt the implementation of regulatory barriers that pose major obstacles to rental housing, high-density development, and other types of affordable housing." The study found that while there is a broad consensus that government should see that everyone has access to affordable housing - 68% in a National Association of Realtors 2005 survey agreed government should"place a higher priority on making housing more affordable in my area" - resistance emerges when affordable housing comes close to one's home. As a possible solution, HUD points to recent campaigns that incorporate research findings and public feedback - by such organizations as the Fannie Mae Foundation - that seek to educate, to reframe issues in positive terms, and to underline universal values and shared hopes. (Research Works, Dec./Jan., 2006:1-2)

The HUD 2006 Fair Housing Month Theme is "Fair Housing: It's Not an Option, It's the Law." Assistant HUD Secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity Kim Kendrick announced the theme for the April celebrations.

DID YOU KNOW?

Organizers hope to begin construction this year on an Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the Mall, at the northeast corner of the Tidal Basin, across from the Jefferson Memorial. Check out the interesting website: http://www.mlkmemorial.org. The website has a newsletter, news, resources, & a donation option. You can view an inscription where Dr. King stood during his "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington (Washington Post, January 15, 2006:P2).

The Fall-Winter 2005 Edition of HUD's Informative Fair Housing News is Now Available on the HUD Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity's Web Site. It has news, recent HUD cases, statistics, and links. Check it out: http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/index.cfm.

Contact the GBCHRB for FREE Fair Housing Info, Brochures, & Posters in English, Spanish, Korean, and Russian: 410-453-9500 / 800-895-6302 / mail@gbchrb.org.

The GBCHRB's Neighborhood Beat TV Show Is on Cable Stations Throughout Maryland! Hosted by Dr. Bill Kladky, the 30-minute interview show runs in Baltimore City, and the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard, Calvert, St. Mary's, Talbot, Prince George's, and Montgomery! Call us at 410-453-9500 for days and times!


CALENDAR

The Annual "Housing Day in Maryland" is from 9-11 a.m. on February 8th, 2006. Sponsored by the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition & many co-sponsors - e.g., Housing Maryland, Maryland Association of Realtors, Enterprise - the Day begins with a General Session then followed by visits to legislators. Location: Miller Senate Office Building, 11 Bladen Street, Annapolis. To be a co-sponsor, email trudy@homesforamerica.org.

David Rusk Will Speak at the League of Women Voters' April 6th Housing Committee General Meeting. The Meeting will be in the evening at a to-be- named location. Rusk is a nationally-renown authority on urban and suburban policy and author of Baltimore Unbound. The League's Housing Committee has prepared a series of monographs on housing issues. For more information, contact the League at 410-377-8046, email lwvbaltimore@verizon.net, or check out the website: http://www.lwvbaltimore.org.

The Baltimore Area Governments Will Hold a "Fair Housing Symposium on Homeowners Insurance" on April 6th from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. The location and particulars will be disclosed shortly. The event is co-sponsored by Baltimore City and the Counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, and Howard.


INTERESTING BOOKS

Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice. Raymond Arsenault. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 640pp. $32.50. By taking 60+ bus rides through the South in 1961, the Freedom Riders set out to challenge racial segregation in interstate transportation. This book chronicles the complexities of the forces involved. As Roger Wilkins puts it in his Washington Post review: "One must read Arsenault's superb rendering of that great saga. For those interested in understanding 20th Century America, this is an essential book." (Washington Post, January 15, 2006:BookWorld5)

The Geography of Opportunity: Race and Housing Choice in Metropolitan America. Xavier DeSouza Briggs, ed. Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 2005. 353pp. $29.95. pbk. Attesting that housing is "the most important invisible social policy issue in America," the analysts and advocates illustrate how segregation negatively affects minorities and low-income families. The book was sponsored by the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University collaborating with the Brookings Institution. Douglas Massey, author of American Apartheid, commented, "Leading experts remind us that in an era of increasing ethnic diversity and widening class gap, segregation is more central to the well-being of the nation than ever." David Rusk added, "...Our current strategy for handling race and class differences is 'containment plus sprawl,' making America officially welcoming but 'socially gated.'" Too true. (http://www.brookings.edu)



Why We Hate. Jack Levin and Gordana Rabrenovic. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2004. 276pp. $26.00. Analysis of the influential factors in hate crimes, and a detailing of some popular initiatives that confront hate in local and global communities.