FAIR HOUSING NEWS, SPRING, 1997

FAIR HOUSING NEWS

Spring, 1997

Greater Baltimore Community Housing Resource Board, Inc. (GBCHRB)


SPRING GREETINGS FROM THE GBCHRB!

We hope you find this newsletter to be informative and interesting. Please send comments to Bill Kladky, GBCHRB Administrator, at 410-882-5476. If you would like a free copy of any article mentioned here or if you know of someone who should be mailed their own copy of Fair Housing News, let us know.

CHECK OUT OUR TV SHOW!!

The GBCHRB's interview show Neighborhood Beat is now shown on CTV-20 on Baltimore County's cable television station. Check it out on Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. & 9:00 p.m., Wednesdays at 12 Noon, Fridays at 6:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. The 30-minute show features lively interviews with experts and community leaders in human and civil rights, housing, and community development. The show is broadcast on Baltimore City's cable-TV station Channel 58 on Tuesdays at 5:00 p.m. and Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. It also is broadcast on Comcast's Howard County Channel 8 at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Fridays, and at 8:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

DID YOU KNOW?

* April is National FAIR HOUSING MONTH! Let us all try to be a good neighbor during this month - and every month.

* Anti-Semitic incidents reported in Maryland increased 13% in 1996, according to a report by the Anti-Defamation League. Maryland had the 7th highest number of reported incidents - such as vandalism and anti-Semitic slurs - in the nation. This is especially problematic because the number nationally decreased 7% that year. (Baltimore Sun, March 4, 1997:2D)

* Montgomery County, Maryland, announced a $400,000 program to fight housing discrimination. The program was initiated after a Greater Washington Fair Housing Council study found that Blacks were treated less favorably than Whites 59% of the time, and Hispanics for 56% of the time. The program includes additional staff for the Human Relations Commission, ongoing testing, and education. (National Fair Housing Advocate, April, 1997:3)

* In a March, 1997, agreement with the U. S. Justice Department settling a homeowner discrimination case, Nationwide Insurance Company, the 5th largest property insurer, agreed to invest $13.2 million to provide down payments and closing costs. Underwriting policies also will be changed to increase homeowner insurance in minority areas. (National Fair Housing Advocate, April, 1997:5)

* The 1997 session of the Maryland Assembly received failing grades on the report card of a coalition of anti-poverty organizations. The House failed, the Senate got a "D-," while Governor Parris Glendening did slightly better with a "C." The legislators' impact on tax policy, health care, welfare reform, the hungry, the homeless, and the working poor, were evaluated. Democratic Dels. Joan Parker (Baltimore Co.), Sue Hecht (Frederick Co.), Brenda Hughes (Prince George's Co.), Maggie McIntosh (Baltimore), and Sharon Grosfeld (Montgomery Co.), made the honor roll for sponsoring legislation supportive to the poor.

* A Winter, 1997, study released by the Brookings Institution found that the number of racially-integrated neighborhoods in the nation is growing. The study found that integration is best promoted by encouraging outsiders to move in, not discouraging insiders from leaving. (The Brookings Review, Winter, 1997:18-21)

* The U. S. Justice Department has concluded that condo and apartment developers are not widely complying with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act. According to the law, all residential dwellings with 4 or more units constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, must be accessible - including townhouses separated by fire walls and condo developments, whether for sale or for rent. A Department campaign to increase compliance is getting underway - beginning in Chicago - and will impose heavy financial penalties and other strictures to enforce the law. (Baltimore Sun, March 23, 1997:4L)

* Seven senior-housing providers - including Marriott International and Sunrise Assisted Living - in the Washington, D. C., metro have been accused of bias in advertising by the Greater Washington Fair Housing Council. The HUD-filed complaints allege that the providers utilized ads with nearly all white models in an area with a 42% minority population. (Washington Post, April 3, 1997:E3)

* A very informative article about groups taking action against bigotry and intimidation is in Parade Magazine's February 23, 1997, issue (pp. 4-6). Included are many practical suggestions about how to fight religious and racial intolerance that actually have worked in various communities across the nation.

INTERNET NEWS

* There's a web site to help employers with questions on workers with disabilities. "Business Focus" is run by the President's Committee on Employment of People, and its address is: http://www.pcepd.gov. (Baltimore Business Journal, April 4-10, 1997:19)

* The Federal government's Fannie Mae has a very helpful web site that provides information to help consumers with buying and refinancing a home. It includes lists of lenders, access to lender web sits, guidance about home-buying, and info about the mortgage financing process. Called HomePath, its address is http://www.homepath.com. (Keynotes, First Quarter, 1997:3)

RESOURCES FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY

* The Maryland Justice Policy Institute has begun an interesting publication. Just Line's March, 1997, issue examines youth violence, racial disparities in capital punishment, violence prevention, and correctional service population racial characteristics, and has a book review and calendar of events. For more information, write: Maryland Justice Policy Institute, P. O. Box 1885, Annapolis, Maryland 21404.

* In the last year, HUD has begun or revived several interesting publications that are definitely worth a closer look. Urban Research Monitor ($15 for 6 issues) features snapshots of important housing and community development news and policy debate. The January/February 1997 issue examines regional governance and regionalism, and provides helpful reference lists. To subscribe, contact HUD User at 800-245-2691.

* If you are looking for data about Maryland, a good place to start is the 1995-1996 Maryland Statistical Abstract, published by Towson State University. The Abstract contains about demographics, income, real estate, health, energy, and so much more. Telephone 410-830-3778 to order a copy at $49.00 for either the book or CD-ROM.

BULLETIN BOARD

* "Good Neighbor Week 1997" will be celebrated in Baltimore County from Friday, April 25th through Sunday, May 4th, 1997. This is a project of the Concerned Religious Leaders of Baltimore County, a group of interfaith clergy working to heal divisions of race, religion, class, and culture. Telephone 410-821-5489 or 410-882-5476 for more information about how you can participate.

* Have you checked out the GBCHRB's radio show? Living in Baltimore is broadcast on "V-103" (103.7 FM) the second and fourth Sundays at 6:30 a.m. and on "Heaven-600" (600 AM) the second and fourth Saturdays at 5:30 a.m. The 15-minute interview show features various community topics.

* Join the Call to Community - a regional dialogue about race, reconciliation, and responsibility - which just began. Call Interfaith Action for Racial Justice at 410-889-8333.

* For one or multiple Fair Housing brochures about laws and rights (including one for people with disabilities), call the GBCHRB at 410-882-5476. Fair Housing Self-Help Guides for organizations dealing with the public also are available.

REST IN PEACE

* Harold S. Jackson, director of the HUD Maryland Office's Program Operations and Compliance Center (FH & EO) and a life-long crusader for civil rights and justice, died at the age of 46 on March 12, 1997. He had received numerous awards, including the National Fair Housing Award and the Federal Executive Board's Career Service Award. Harold was an active member of First Apostolic Faith Church in Baltimore. He also was a colorful personality, a splendid cook, and a good friend. He will be missed.

* David Clarke, chair of the City Council of the District of Columbia and a strong advocate for civil rights, died at 53 on March 27, 1997. He worked passionately to heal racial divides. Clarke had been an early participant in the 1960s civil rights struggles, a law clerk for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the head of the local Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

* The Reverend Dr. Leon H. White, pastor of several United Methodist churches and a civil rights leader in Anne Arundel County died at 81 on January 30, 1997. In Anne Arundel in 1950 they found that Blacks were expected to pay the light bills, make the desks, and provide for the public schools their children attended. As president of the local branch of the NAACP and of a Black national council of PTAs, he fought to end segregation in County schools. The Reverend White once said:

Dreams like Martin Luther King's are always slow-moving. The wheels of justice grind slowly, but justice will roll down like many waters, faster and faster.

SEND COMMENTS TO:

Greater Baltimore Community Housing Resource Board, Inc.
P. O. Box 66180
Baltimore, Maryland 21239-6180
(410)882-5476

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