Greater Baltimore Community Housing Resource Board, Inc. (GBCHRB) December, 2002 / Vol. 8, No. 6



FAIR HOUSING NEWS

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


GREETINGS!

Contact us for a free copy of any mentioned article, a free subscription to Fair Housing News, to suggest a topic or story, or to post a notice inFair Housing News: 410-453-9500 / 800-895-6302 / mail@gbchrb.org. More info, resources, & links are at our website: http://www.gbchrb.org.

IN THE NEWS

Record $1 Million Settlement For Inaccessible Chicago Apartment Building. The architects and builders of a luxury apartment house will pay almost $1 million to correct doors too narrow and thermostats too high to use by people in wheelchairs. The 24-story Park Evanston was constructed in 1996 - six years after the ADA took effect. The settlement is the largest for a single building. A representative for Access Living, which brought the suit, commented, "Full independence for our community will not be achieved until we have housing on a par with that available to the non-disabled community." (Baltimore Sun, September 20, 2002:12A)

Study of Telephone Voices Finds Racial Discrimination. Stanford University professor John Baugh - author of Beyond Ebonics: Linguistic Pride and Racial Prejudice - found the chance of a minority person renting or buying housing declines when the owner or leasing agency can either visually or audibly detect their ethnicity. Shanna Smith of the National Fair Housing Alliance commented that "every time someone calls about just about any consumer transaction over the phone, the person they are speaking with is guessing their race or national origin," and noted that 90% of the 18,000 housing complaints filed so far this year began with a telephone call. (Crisis, November / December, 2002:7-8.

ACORN Report Charges Baltimore Mortgage Lenders with Racial Discrimination in Lending Practices. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) issued a report on October 1st entitled The Great Divide: Home Purchase Mortgage Lending Nationally and in 68 Metropolitan Areas. Utilizing Federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA ) data, ACORN found African-Americans were 2.31 times as likely as whites to be turned down for mortgages, and Latinos were 1.53 times. In the Baltimore metro, the report found African-Americans earning 100-120% of the area median income were 3.6 times more likely to be rejected by lenders. (City Paper, October 9, 2002:9)

Smart Growth America Study Rates Baltimore Area as 20th Best on Sprawl. The three-year study used Census data to rank 83 metros on commuting times, residential density, proximity of homes to business districts, and the size of city streets and blocks. People living in the worst sprawl spent more time in their cars and had a greater likelihood of being a traffic fatality. A study spokesperson: (a) credited Governor Glendening's Smart Growth policies for encouraging development in communities with existing supportive roads, sewer lines, and schools; but noted (b) sprawl development has led to school crowding and traffic congestion in Carroll, Anne Arundel, and Harford Counties. (Baltimore Sun, October 18, 2002:2B)

Report Finds National Home Foreclosures At Highest Rate in 30 Years. A report by the Mortgage Bankers Association of America found in the April-June, 2002, period foreclosures were begun on 134,885 mortgages - 4 in every 1,000 - the highest rate in the 30 years the Association has been monitoring mortgages. All states are affected. The record high national homeownership rate of 68% - up from 64% in 1990 - is expected to decline as a result. (BaltimoreSun, November 24, 2002:12A)

Frederick County Adopts Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit Ordinance. The program requires approximately 1 of 8 housing units in most new residential developments be sold at a reduced price. The ordinance is similar to the successful 19-year-old Montgomery County program that has been called a national model for solving housing affordability problems. (Baltimore Sun, November 24, 2002:5L)



Fannie Mae Study Finds "Edge" Counties Struggling with the Impacts of Rapid Growth. The study found that growth often outpaced the expanding jurisdiction's ability to build and frequently to pay for needed infrastructure. The key: "the availability and affordability of housing determines settlement patterns in high growth areas." (Housing Facts & Findings, Vol. 4, 2002:1-2)

Federal Task Force Reports Enforcement & Education Programs Are Reducing Illegal Flipping. The report said 47 defendants in mortgage fraud or property flipping cases have been convicted in federal court, and 29 have been sentenced. Among the Baltimore City Flipping and Predatory Lending Task Force's recommendations were the aggressive usage of consumer protection laws, new legislative measures to protect consumers against unethical lenders, and the continued cooperation between government - federal, state, local - and industry. (Baltimore Sun, September 27, 2002:1B,5B)

DID YOU KNOW?

The National Association of Home Builders Research Center Will Open Its LifeWise Home in Bowie in December. The prototype house incorporates Universal Design, which accomodates its owners throughout their lives. The LifeWise home includes designs identified by seniors surveyed by the Research Center and Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies; their requests included storage, one-floor living, security, convenience, and safety. The 1,900-square-foot house's price will be in the mid-$200,000 range. (Baltimore Sun, November 24, 2002:1L)

TV Worth Watching!?! Local! Community, Improvements, Housing, Neighborhoods, Living, People, Rights! The GBCHRB's Neighborhood Beat is on various cable-TV stations. The 30-minute interview show runs on Channel 2 in Baltimore City, 99 in Anne Arundel County, 71 in Baltimore County, 3 in Carroll, and 3 & 7 in Harford! Call us at 410-453-9500 or the stations for the show's days and times!

INTERESTING BOOKS

Beyond Ebonics: Linguistic Pride and Racial Prejudice. John Baugh & Dell Hymes. Oxford University, 2002. 149pp. $17.95. pbk.

An accessible explanation of the origins of the controversial term, the linguistic reality behind all the hype, and insights about the politics behind the outcry on both sides of the debate. The author uses a non-technical, first-person style, and includes illustrations taken from his own personal experiences. Baugh debunks many commonly-held notions about the way African-Americans speak English.

Legacy of Hate: A Short History of Ethnic, Relligious, and Racial Prejudice in America. Philip Permutter. 344 pp. M. E. Sharpe, 1999. $38.95.

A history of bigotry in the US that calls the ethnic, religious, and racial minorities as the key to the development and evolution of egalitarianism.

The Civil Rights Movement (Lives in Crisis Series). Nigel Ritchie. Barrons Educational Series, May, 2003. 64 pp. $8.95. Young Adults, Grades 7-9. A "vivid account" of freedom marches, boycotts, and other nonviolent protest tactics, and of leaders who included Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Jr., and others.


REST IN PEACE

John Frank, Lawyer Behind Miranda Rights, 84. Frank's defense of Ernesto Miranda before the U. S. Supreme Court led to the Warren Court's 1966 adoption of Frank's proposed standard requiring all law enforcement authorities to read suspects a list of civil rights provided by the FBI. Frank - then a Yale prof and adviser to Thurgood Marshall - and his partner John Flynn had been recruited by the ACLU to take the case. Miranda, incidentally, was re-tried, again convicted, and given a 20-to-30-year sentence for rape. (Seattle Times, September 15, 2002)

Dr. T. Eugene Reed, Civil Rights Leader, 79. Reed, a dentist from Amityville, New York, was sent to jail as a sit-in protester in 1961, won a suit in 1962 that opened health clubs in New York to African-Americans, and served as President of the Long Island NAACP and the New York NAACP. (Massapequa Post, October 2, 2002)