Greater Baltimore Community Housing Resource Board, Inc. (GBCHRB)                     August-Sept., 2004 / Vol.10, No. 4

 

    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 or a free subscription to Fair Housing News: 410-453-9500 / 800-895-6302 / mail@gbchrb.org.  More info/resources: http://www.gbchrb.org.  

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Regarding New Jersey Disability-Based Housing Discrimination.  The apartment complex had been built without the required features allowing usage by people with disabilities.   Carteret Terrace will pay $5000 in compensation and establish a $45,000 fund to compensate those impacted by the inaccessible housing.  HUD referred the case to the Justice Department.  The Civil Rights Division has filed 131 lawsuits since January 1, 2001, under the Fair Housing Act - 32 about regarding design & construct provisions. (www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2004/August/or_crt_566.htm)

 

"Voices of Civil Rights" Bus Tour/Project is Creating the World's Largest Archive of Firsthand Accounts of the Civil Rights Movement.  The tour - visiting 70 cities in 70 days largely along the route of the 1961 Freedom Riders -  is part of a project by the Library of Congress, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and the AARP.  It includes an historical photo archive, memorabilia, personal stories, a website, and a book by Juan Williams (see Interesting Books section of this newsletter) on the personal side of the Movement.  Info: www.voicesofcivilrights.org.  (www.civilrights.org, August 9, 2004)

 

Two Major Travel Services Agree to Make Their Web Sites More Accessible to the Visually Impaired.  One of the first enforcements on the Internet of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Priceline.com and Ramada.com will change their sites to allow users with "screen reader software" and other technology to navigate, according to New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.  The head of the American Foundation for the Blind commented, "It's the right thing to do, and it's good business."  (The Associated Press, August 19, 2004)

 

1996 Immigration Reforms Called Unfair by Report by the American Bar Association & the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.  The laws are criticized for allowing low level officials to make critical "life & death decisions," requiring incarceration without a meaningful hearing, triggering mandatory permanent deportation for essentially minor and irrelevant offenses, and other problems.  Read the report at: www.abanet.org/publicserv/immigration/Due_Process.html.  (www.civilrights.org, August 2, 2004)

 

De-Institutionalization of Individuals with Physical & Mental Disabilities Five Years After Olmstead Decision Called "Sluggish, Uneven."  Timothy Westmoreland of Georgetown's Health Policy Institute said 60% of states have made progress, but "few have significantly improved services."  The Olmstead v. L.C. decision, called the Brown v. Board of Education of the disability rights movement, ruled that segregation of individuals with disabilities constitutes illegal discrimination.  (Baltimore Sun, June 24, 2004:11A)

 

Section 8 Bias Complaint Settled for $8,000.  The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights  and Opportunities found that a Bridgeport, Connecticut, woman had been discriminated against when her application for rental housing had been rejected because she did not make the landlord's income requirements - even though she had a Section 8 certificate.  The woman's $640 monthly income was below the $2,100 floor.  (National Fair Housing Advocate Online, July 23, 2004)

 

Brookings Institution Study Finds Baltimore's Income Distribution is Among Worst Skewed in Country.  Using 2000 Census data, the researchers found Baltimore has 56% low and low-moderate-income households, compared with 26% with upper-middle or upper incomes.  The report, "The Shape of the Curve: Household Income Distributions in U. S. Cities, 1979-1999," found Baltimore's income gap between rich and poor ranked 11th of the largest 40 metros.  With its 22.9% poverty rate compared to its suburbs' 5.4%, Baltimore had the third-greatest disparity of the 40 metros. The study also found that the proportion of households with high incomes declined in 79 of the 100 largest cities between 1979 and 1999.  Take a look:  www.brookings.edu/metro/pubs/20040803_income.htm (Baltimore Sun, August 19, 2004:2B)

 

Many Hispanics Housing Situation is "Grim," According to Study by the National Council of La Raza.  The study found home ownership rates among Latinos increased steadily during the 1990s, but peaked at 47.3% in 2001. By 2003, Latino home ownership had declined 0.6% as housing costs rose faster than income. On average, Hispanic families spend over a third of their income on housing.  While overall housing problems decreased slightly, more than twice the number of Hispanics than Whites also reported significant problems with building quality.  (www.nclr.org, August 5, 2004)


 

DID YOU KNOW?                   

 

New Resources to Fight Hate Released by the Anti-Defamation League.  The League's "Hate Comes Home" interactive CD-ROM helps students acquire skills to stop hate before it begins.  The students are the lead characters in plots including everyday bias and hate-motivated acts.   The CD-ROM is available in all California high schools, and is on the League's web site www.adl.org.  The website also has "101 Ways to Combat Prejudice," practical suggestions for confronting prejudice at home, schools, work, worship, and community. 

 

MCIL - Making Choices for Independent Living Will Hold Its Annual Meeting & Award Luncheon on September 17th.  The meeting will be at the Hearing & Speech Agency, 5900 Metro Drive, Baltimore, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  For information & registration, telephone : 410-444-1400.

 

Contact the GBCHRB for FREE Fair Housing Informational Brochures & Posters.   Also, copies of the GBCHRB’s Neighborhood Beat are available in digital format, and will soon be on our website!  If interested, telephone the GBCHRB at 410-453-9500 / 800-895-6302 / mail@gbchrb.org for free copies.

 

The GBCHRB's Neighborhood Beat TV Show Is on Various Cable Stations.  Hosted by Dr. Bill Kladky, the 30-minute interview show runs on Channel 21 & 8 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 Segregation: Multiracial and Multiethnic Neighborhoods in the United States.  by Michael T. Maly.  296 pp.  Temple University Press, 2004.  $22.95.  pbk.  The author tours some multiethnic neighborhoods, arguing that many neighborhoods do achieve stable racial integration.  His prescription includes work to maintain the area as an affordable, integrated living space.

 

All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-Century of Brown v. Board of Education.  by Charles J. Ogletree.  416 pp.  W. W. Norton & Company, 2004.  $25.95.  Harvard Law prof Ogletree uses personal memoir, history, and legal analysis to assess the landmark decision, concluding that results have been real but disappointing.  He ascribes this to our judicial system's "ambivalence," social resistance, and increasing legal challenges.

 

From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality.  by Michael J. Klarman.  655 pp.  Oxford University Press, 2004.  $35.00.  Klarman examines the social, political, and international forces impacting racial progress from the nineteenth century to the Brown decision.  He suggests that the decision, despite its many positives, may have been on balance detrimental because it stimulated white opposition to desegregation.                         

 

My Soul Looks Back in Wonder: Voices of the Civil Rights Experience.  by Juan Williams.  240 pp.  Sterling, 2004.  $19.95.  Williams, author of Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary, provides over 30 personal testimonies and stories - leaders and ordinary citizens - of the Civil Rights Movement.  Included is an overview by David Halberstam.  The book, produced as part of the "Voices of the Civil Rights" project, is well worth reading.