FAIR HOUSING NEWS

Summer, 1997

Greater Baltimore Community Housing Resource Board, Inc. (GBCHRB)
Volume 3, Number 1


SUMMER GREETINGS FROM THE GBCHRB!

    We hope you find this newsletter to be informative and interesting. Please send comments to Bill Kladky, GBCHRB Administrator, at 410-453-9500 or mail@gbchrb.org.     If you would like a free copy of any article mentioned here or to add others to our mailing list, let us know.

 

CABLE-TV WORTH WATCHING!

    Have you seen the GBCHRB's cable-TV show Neighborhood Beat? The 30-minute show's major topics are neighborhood living, human/civil rights, housing, and community development. It airs:

DID YOU KNOW?

* 69% of whites and 88% of blacks think blacks are discriminated against in this society according to a Washington Post-ABC News Poll. The Poll (which was done during June 5-8, 1997) also found that only 9% of whites and 3% of blacks feel that there is no discrimination. Other findings of the study were that 75% of blacks and 52% of whites thought the country's race relations were in "crisis" or a "serious problem." (Washington Post, June 12, 1997:A16).

* Time-share condo units are covered under the Fair Housing Act, according to a Louisiana District Court ruling. The case involved a New Orleans resort complex called Quarter House (National Fair Housing Advocate, May, 1997:7).

* A Gallup Poll found a huge racial difference in views about whether blacks are treated as fairly as whites. 76% of whites and only 49% of blacks felt there is equal treatment in their communities, according to a poll done during January 4-February 28, 1997. The Poll, done annually since 1970, always has found a large racial difference in opinions on this issue. (Washington Post, June 12, 1997:A16).

* The Second Circuit Court in New York upheld an injunction prohibiting the village of Airmont, New York, from discriminating against Orthodox Jews. The village had refused to allow synagogues to be operated in private homes, thus excluding Orthodox Jews from living there. (National Fair Housing Advocate, May, 1997:7).

* The Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington filed a lawsuit on July 8, 1997, accusing four insurance companies of discriminating against people with disabilities. It is alleged that the companies - including giants State Farm and Allstate - failed to provide reasonably-priced property and liability insurance to group homes. Three landlords and Oxford House joined the Council in the suit. (Washington Post, July 9, 1997:A1)

* The largest home mortgage lender in Kansas City, Missouri, paid $50,000 in damages to settle a discrimination suit filed by Legal Aid of Western Missouri. Capitol Federal Savings also will make many changes in its lending and personnel policies. The suit was filed after testers found that white testers were offered better terms, loan products, and qualification assistance than African-American testers. (National Fair Housing Advocate, June, 1997, p. 4)

* Burger King settled a suit on accessibility brought by a Bowie woman. Patricia Day, who uses a wheelchair, found that Burger King's service line was too narrow for her wheelchair, and she got stuck in the line's metal barriers. Her suit alleged that Burger King did not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under the settlement, Burger King will pay a monetary award and will survey its 502 stores looking for and fixing any barriers for people with disabilities. A Disability Rights Council spokesperson said that they were using the law "to force companies to do what they're already supposed to be doing." Let us hope that other companies get the message! (Washington Post, July 9, 1997:D11).

 

THINK ABOUT IT!

* Many more metropolitan areas look to regional solutions to tackle their various ills. In Buffalo, New York, there is a proposal to absorb the city into Erie County. In Atlanta, Georgia, "regionalism is the driving issue right now," according to the director of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Center. A David Rusk study of Reading, Pennsylvania (1 of the 90 he has done in the last 5 years), found regionalism to be the only true solution. Four national conferences have been held since May 1, 1997 on regionalism. The Urban Land Institute has started a year-long study of regionalism. The Brookings Institution has established a unit to study how cities and suburbs can work together. Neil R. Pierce - a nationally-syndicated columnist who has done 14 city studies - says that "Only cohesive, efficient urban regions are going to make it in the new world economy." (Washington Post, July 6, 1997:B1)

* The millions of words written and said about the welfare reform bill missed the boat - the issue is POVERTY. Consider: "We were particularly distressed when nutrition programs were included in "reforming welfare." More than one in four children under 12 are hungry or at risk of hunger - before the cuts in nutrition programs the Congress and the President passed," according to Barbara Howell of Bread for the World. (Sojourners, March-April, 1997:18)

* 50 million Americans - 19% - live below a poverty line of $8,122, according to a U. N. study. One in four children under 18, one in five seniors, and three of every five single-parent households are in poverty (Washington Post, June 12, 1997:A29).

* Immigrant and minority homebuyers face unique constraints - including limited financing options, cultural biases, and lack of knowledge about the homebuying process - according to four studies published in HUD's Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research (Urban Research Monitor, May/June, 1997:1)

 

 RESOURCES FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY

* Become a member of Sojourners, a progressive Christian networkworking for "personal, community, and political transformation." For $30 a year, you get Sojourners, a magazine packed with helpful resources, notices, and articles. Telephone 1-800-714-7474.

* Recent publications of interest include:

(1) The Cleveland Residential Housing and Mortgage Credit Project: One City's Response to the Problem of Racial Discrimination in the Home-Buying Process. Malcolm Bush & Paula Corrigan-Halpern. Chicago: Woodstock Institute, 1997.

(2) Insurance Redlining: Disinvestment, Reinvestment, and the Evolving Role of Financial Institutions. Gregory D. Squires, ed. Washington, D. C.: Urban Institute, 1997.

(3) "Adaptation and Homebuying Approaches of Latin Americans and Indian Immigrants in Montgomery County, Maryland." Susan A. Cheyney & Charles C. Cheyney. Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research, vol. 3, no. 1(March, 1997):39-61.

(4) U. S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) products: Urban Research Monitor, ($15/year for 6 issues), FieldWorks ($15/year for 6 issues), and Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research. HUD User at 800-245-2691.

LOCAL BULLETIN BOARD

* The first issue of Baltimore County Today, a quarterly newsletter about faith-based efforts to improve community, will be distributed in mid-August, 1997, by the Concerned Religious Leaders of Baltimore County. Telephone 410-825-3360 for a free copy and/or if you would like to attend the monthly meetings.

* Have you checked out the GBCHRB's radio show? Living in Baltimore is broadcast on "Heaven-600" (600 AM) the second and fourth Saturdays at 6:00 a.m. The 15- minute interview show features various community topics.

* The GBCHRB has just revised its A Self-Help Guide to Fair Housing (separate for Baltimore City and Baltimore County) for organizations dealing with the public. For a free Guide or Fair Housing brochures about laws and rights (including one for people with disabilities and one in Spanish), call the GBCHRB at 410-882-5476.

REST IN PEACE

Hanley Norment, civil rights activist who was president of the NAACP's Maryland State Conference and the former president of the Montgomery County branch of the NAACP, died at 65 on July 10, 1997. Noted for his quiet, professional manner, Norment pushed for better educational standards for minority students, and used NAACP resources to monitor police brutality cases and the hiring of new officers. A Washington radio commentator observed, "He was dedicated to civil rights and fairness for all human beings."

Dr. Betty Shabazz, widow of Malcolm X, human rights activist, and college administrator, died on June 23, 1997. One of the hundreds who waited in long lines to attend a Riverside Church tribute said, "I'm just here to pay respect to Betty Shabazz for her works and for carrying on her husband's legacy in the face of a lot of heartache" (Washington Post, June 30, 1997:A9). At a NAACP tribute on July 15th that brought together civil rights widows Coretta Scott King and NAACP Chair Myrlie Evers-Williams, Ms. King said: "We were married to great leaders. Then we all were widows and single mothers. And we all felt impelled to carry on the unfinished work of our husbands." Let us all continue to carry on the unfinished work.


PLEASE SEND COMMENTS TO:

        Greater Baltimore Community Housing Resource Board, Inc.
        P. O. Box 66180
        Baltimore, Maryland 21239-6180
        (410)453-9500

Or you may E-Mail to our E-Mail address


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