Greater Baltimore Community Housing Resource Board, Inc. (GBCHRB)                                     March-April, 2007 / Vol.1, No. 2

 

FAIR HOUSING NEWS

 

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

 

 

FAIR HOUSING MONTH 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.

 

 

IN THE NATIONAL NEWS

 

April is National Fair Housing Month!  April marks the 39th annual celebration of passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968.  HUD has released 39 Steps Toward Fair Housing, an historical chronicle of the major events and actions in Fair Housing over the years.  It's well worth checking out.  Go to www.hud.gov & click on Fair Housing. The Baltimore Office of HUD will hold its free Annual Fair Housing Conference entitled "Fair Multifamily Housing, It's Not an Option - It's the Law" on Tuesday, April 17th, at the Oak Crest Village, 8800 Walther Boulevard, Parkville, Maryland 21234. Registration is from 8:30-9:00 a.m., with the Conference ending at 1:00 pm. The focus will be on Fair Housing issues in occupancy & tenant relations, as well as reasonable accommodations for disability & Section 504. More info: 410-209-6580 / lorraine.richardson@hud.gov.

 

Top Cities in Disability Friendliness, Outreach Announced by National Organization on Disability.  Berkeley, CA & Chicago are the winner and runner-up in the 6th annual Accessible America Contest.  Other 2006 finalists were Alexandria, VA; Bloomington, IN; Indianapolis, IN; Louisville, KY; Miami Beach, FL; New Haven, CT; San Francisco, CA; and Sioux Falls, SD.  The cities were heralded as models for their "focus on disability issues and successful design of programs,  services, and facilities that are accessible for citizens and visitors who have disabilities."  Previous winners include Cambridge, MA; Venice, FL; Irvine, CA; Phoenix, AZ; and Pasadena, CA.  (NOD, January 11, 2007; www.nod.org)

 

New "Americans for Fairness in Lending" Coalition Formed, Launches Campaign.  The coalition (AFFIL) is a non-profit organization working "to end predatory lending practices, provide information to help consumers, educate policymakers about the need for reform, and demand action to assist debt-burdened Americans." It is a partnership of national consumer, civil rights, faith-based, non-partisan and grassroots organizations, including ACORN, Center for American Progress, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, UAW, among others.  Check out their website: http://www.americansforfairnessinlending.org.

 

Study Finds Increasing Numbers of Immigrants are Choosing Naturalization.  The Pew Hispanic Center Study found the percentage of all legal foreign-born re4sidents who have become naturalized US citizens rose to 52% in 2005, the highest in 25 years.  The proportion eligible for naturalization was 8.5 million, with 3 million being Mexican.  The total population of naturalized citizens was 12.8 million in 2005, an historic high.  (www.pewhispanic.org, March 28, 2007)

 

Homeless Study Released by HUD.  HUD's first-ever "Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress" estimates that 754,000 are homeless on any given night. The study, based on a geographically representative sample of 80 communities, found 65% of the homeless were male, some 41% are 31-50 years old, 34% are persons in families with children, 59% are minority, 75% are in central cities, and 19% are veterans.  (HUD Press Release #07-020, Feb. 28, 2007;www.hud.gov)

 

Equal Rights Amendment Introduced.  Now called the Women's Equality Amendment, the proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution states "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."  The National Council of Women's Organizations said "prospects are better now than they have been in a very, very long time."  (Boston Globe online, April 4, 2007)

 

HUD Settles Parking Accessibility Case for $10,000.  A New Jersey cooperative apartment building was ordered by a judge to pay $10,000 to a resident with a disability (multiple sclerosis) who said his request for an indoor parking space within a short distance from his apartment was refused.  Kim Kendrick, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity for HUD, commented, "Mr. Dublirer should never have had to worry about each step as he tried to make his way to his apartment safely.(HUD Press Release #07-023, March 1, 2007;www.hud.gov)

 

 

LOCAL NEWS

 

League of Women Voters' Free Lecture Event.  Gillian Sorensen, Senior Advisor at the United Nations Foundation, will speak about UN efforts to promote international partnerships to combat poverty on April 12th from 7-9:15 p.m. as part of the League's "Focus on Contemporary Issues."  A panel will discuss how the US can "improve its trade, foreign assistance, and financing policies to more effectively promote poverty reduction in developing countries."  Info: 410-377-8046 or lwvbaltimore@verizon.net.

 

Maryland Senate Votes to Expand Protection Under Hate-Crimes Law to the Homeless.   If approved. the bill, sponsored by Sen. Alex Mooney (Frederick), would make Maryland the first state to protect the homeless under such a statute.  For a violation not with a separate felony, the person would be imprisoned up to 3 years and fined up to $5,000.  With a felony, the violation would bring 10-year sentence and $10,000; death-related offenses would bring 20 years and $20,000 in addition to the other sentences (Baltimore Sun, March 7, 2007:5B)

 

DID YOU KNOW?

 


Check the Center for Responsible Lending for Lending Info & Advocacy. The Center for Responsible Lending (http://www.responsiblelending.org), a "resource for predatory lending opponents," has policy briefs, research, action alerts, & much more. 

 

The HUD FH&EO Website is a Great Place for Fair Housing News & Info.  The site, part of www.hud.gov, has recent news, multiple resources & tools, and specific sections on fair lending, disabilities, economic opportunities, senior housing, and more.

Website About Credit Score Mistakes.  The website www.thesimpledollar.com offers "10 Common Tactical Mistakes When Dealing With The Credit Score Blues."  People trying to repair their credit - and their counselors - should look at this.

 

Contact the GBCHRB for FREE Fair Housing Info, Brochures, & Posters in English, Spanish, Korean, and Russian.   We have brochures, Self-Help Guides to Fair Housing for individual counties, curricula for renting & buying housing, and much more!  Quantities available for no charge!  Contact us at: 410-453-9500 / 800-895-6302 / mail@gbchrb.org.

 

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

 

 

INTERESTING BOOKS - DID YOU MISS THESE?

 

The Geography of Opportunity: Race and Housing Choice in Metropolitan America.  Xavier de Souza Briggs & William J. Wilson, eds.  Washington, D. C.: Brookings Institution, 2005.  353pp.  $29.95 pbk.  Excellent, highly-recommended collection of articles on major issues related to race, housing, and poverty.  Chapters include: residential segregation, housing discrimination, the Moving to Opportunity Program, dual mortgage market, smart growth, etc. 

 

Beyond Segregation: Multiracial and Multiethnic Neighborhoods in the United States.  by Michael T. Maly.  Philadelphia: Temple University, 2005.  278pp.  $23.95.  pbk.  Good analytic tour of some stable, multicultural neighborhoods: Chicago's Uptown, Jackson Heights in Queens, San Antonio-Fruitvale in Oakland.  The focus is on what works in these affordable, integrated areas. 

 

Credit to the Community: Community Reinvestment and Fair Lending Policy in the United States.  by Daniel Immergluck.  M. E. Sharpe, 2004.  315pp.  $44.95.  hdcvr.  Good analysis of the facts, policies, and trends in fair lending and consumer protection.  The author provides evidence that increased community activism and media attention have led to sporadic periods of stronger Community Reinvestment Act enforcement, and argues for stronger enforcement.


Housing Policy in the United States: An Introduction.  by Alex F. Schwartz.  Routledge, 2006.  320pp.  $35.95.  pbk.  Good survey of housing policy, with concepts, important issues, trends, data.  Includes interesting section on governmental efforts to reduce discrimination.

 

The Failures of Integration: How Race and Class are Undermining the American Dream.  by Sheryll Cashin.  PublicAffairs, 2005.  391pp.  $17.95.  pbk.  Learned examination of the unfulfilled promise of Brown v. Board of Education, focusing on the need for integrated, multiclass communities. 

 

 

REST IN PEACE

 

Charles Langford, Civil Rights Lawyer, 84.  Langford's best-known client - with his partner Fred D. Gray - was Rosa Parks, arrested in 1955 for refusing to give her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.  He also represented Arlam Carr, Jr., whose lawsuit led to the Montgomery public schools desegregation.  In 1993, Langford assisted in the successful effort to end the flying of a Confederate battle flag from the dome of the State Capitol in Montgomery.  (New York Times, February 20, 2007:A16)

 

Will Maslow, Civil Rights Lawyer, 99.  As general counsel and executive director of the American Jewish Congress from 1945-1972, Maslow fought discrimination against African-Americans and Jews, especially in employment and education.  His organization fought many communities' housing restrictions that had made it impossible for Jews to purchase property, as well as various colleges and companies with limits on how many Jews they would admit or hire.  He helped draft the Congress' friend-of-the-court brief supporting the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation.  Maslow also was a leader of the 1963 civil rights march on Washington where the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave the famed "I Have a Dream" speech.  (New York Times, February 27, 2007:A17)

 

Mendy Samstein, Civil Rights Worker, 68.  As a full-time organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Samstein helped recruit and deploy the over 800 mostly-white college students who traveled from across the country to rural Mississippi as part of the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project, among many, many other actions during the Civil Rights movement.  Samstein, known as an adept organizer and a pull-no-punches speaker, was jailed, almost killed in a bombing in McComb, Mississippi, and was pulled from his care and beaten by policeman.  His wife said his civil rights fervor came from his deep feelings about the Holocaust: "He did not want to permit that kind of destruction of a race to happen again."  (New York Times, January 25, 2007:A19)