Greater Baltimore Community Housing Resource Board, Inc. (GBCHRB) October, 2002 / Vol. 8, No. 5

FAIR HOUSING NEWS

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


FALL GREETINGS!

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IN THE NEWS

Urban Sprawl Especially Hurts Minorities, Study Says. Robert Bullard, co-editor of Sprawl City: Race, Politics, and Planning in Atlanta and several other studies, points out that the social effects of sprawl - increased economic and racial polarization - hurts minorities in education, employment, and housing. A major voice in the environmental justice movement, Bullard argues in "Race, Equity, and Smart Growth: Why People of Color Must Speak for Themselves" that improvements must be made in schools and transportation to make Smart Growth work. (BaltimoreSun, October 3, 2002:2B)

Report Finds Housing Costs Out of Reach for Many, As Gap Between Housing Costs and Income Widens. Maryland is Seventh Least Affordable State. Out of Reach, by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, found the "housing wage" - the amount a full-time worker has to earn to be able to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the fair market rent paying no more than 30% of income - increased 5% in 2001 to $14.66. In Maryland, the housing wage was $16.82 - well above many jobs. Maryland also had the largest increase in the housing wage for 2001, 13.2%. The Baltimore metro had the largest increase in the housing wage in 2002, 22.7%. (www.nlihc.org, October, 2002)

Habitat for Humanity & Mental Health Groups Join to Create Home Ownership. Habitat announced a partnership campaign with the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and the National Mental Health Association to build homes with families where one or more are being treated for a mental illness. (The NIMBY Report, September, 2002:6)

Recent Studies (Mostly) Find Significant Benefit from the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). A 2002 study by Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies (The 25th Anniversary of the Community Reinvestment Act: Access to Capital in an Evolving Financial Services System) found a 77% increase in loans to low-moderate households, 94% to African-Americans, 140% to Hispanics. Despite these gains, the number of loans and the homeownership rates for minorities still are below Caucasians. The study also found that financial institutions were now more likely to make loans in low-income communities. However, another study by the Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy, Bigger, Faster... But Better? How Changes in the Financial Services Industry Affect Small Business Lending in Urban Areas - found small-business loans in low-income communities are decreasing and branch banking was reduced. The rapid consolidation in the banking industry was identified as the primary cause. (HUD's Urban Research Monitor, May-June, 2002:1-2,5)