Greater Baltimore Community Housing Resource Board (GBCHRB) - Summer, 1998/V. 3, N.2

FAIR HOUSING NEWS

A quarterly newsletter about fair housing, community development, and neighborhood quality of life
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GREETINGS FROM THE GBCHRB!

    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, call 410-453-9500 or 800-772-0144.

    The GBCHRB's Neighborhood Beat is shown on FIVE cable-TV stations - Baltimore City - Channel 5, Anne Arundel County - Channel 99, Baltimore County - Channel 20, Harford County - Channels 3 & 7, and Howard County - Channel 8.


IN THE NEWS

   Despite Economic Growth, Low-Income Families' Housing Affordability Problems Have Gotten Worse. A study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that the number of families paying more than 50% of their income for rent increased from 4.1 million in 1993 to 4.4 million in 1995. The typical family of poor renters spends about 60% of its income for rent, and the number of such families exceeded the supply of affordable housing by 4.4 million in 1995 (New York Times, June 16, 1998:A14).

    There Are Now HUD Housing Mobility Programs Providing Greater Choice of Neighborhood for Poor and Minority Families in 37 Metro Regions. This program, coupling Section 8 with counseling and outreach, has been adopted in HUD's new Regional Opportunity Counseling and Vacancy Consolidation programs. Housing Mobility: The Promise Realized; Margery Turner & Kale Williams; Washington, D. C.:Urban Institute; 202-857-8687; $16 (The NIMBY Report, Spring, 1998:2-3).

    NAACP President Kweisi Mfume has called upon the Justice Department and Congress to Eliminate Discriminatory Practices in Mortgage Lending Against African-Americans and Latinos in Baltimore and Nationwide. This comes after a 1997 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act report found that while there are more blacks receiving mortgage loans, 58% of blacks are denied loans - a much higher rate than for whites or Hispanics. In Baltimore 59% of blacks were denied loans - compared to a denial rate of 24% for whites and 44% for Hispanics (Baltimore Sun, August 8, 1998:1B).

     July 26th was the 50th Anniversary of President Harry S. Truman's Executive Order Desegregating the U. S. Military. Truman's order demanded "equality of treatment and opportunity...in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin." By the Korean War's end, 90% of military units were integrated (Baltimore Sun, July 27, 1998:2E).

    One-Third of Households With the Lowest Incomes Now Live in U. S. Suburbs. HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo said that many of the wage earners in these families are still tied to low-paying jobs that cannot cover the rising rents (America, May 30, 1998:10).

    Nevada Condo Developer Pays $37,500 To Settle a HUD Disability and Accessibility Complaint. As a result, 56 first-floor condominiums will be remodeled so they are accessible to people with disabilities. The Frey Development Corporation will widen doorways, place electrical outlets so wheelchair users can reach them, reinforce bathroom walls for grab bars, and expand space in kitchens and bathrooms to allow a wheelchair maneuver room. (National Fair Housing Advocate, May, 1998:6).

    HUD Issues Order Requiring Builders to Modify Completed Housing Units To Be Accessible to People With Disabilities. The order, requiring modifications totaling $71,000, found that an Illinois developer had discriminated because 8 ground-floor condo units were not accessible. HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo said that HUD "will strictly and vigorously enforce the Fair Housing Act" (Nat. Fair Housing Advoc., June, 1998:5).

    A Washington, D. C., Condo Association Was Ordered to Pay $550,000 For Not Acting Against A Neighbor Who Made Racial Slurs and Threats Against Another. The U. S. District Court lawsuit settlement, which found that the Carrollsburg Association in Southwest D. C. violated the rights of a Black lawyer under the Fair Housing Act, underlines that condominium boards are subject to the same fair housing and civil rights standards as apartment owners (Washington Post, June 10, 1998:A1).


    HUD Secretary Cuomo Stated that "Housing Discrimination is Still Very Widespread." In an interview in the Catholic weekly America, Cuomo also said, "We encounter cases you'd think were from the 1950's and 1960's - from redlining to cross burnings and racist threats" (America, May 30, 1998:10-13).

    A Successful Town Meeting on Race Relations Was Held on April 30th at the Historic Orchard Street Church. The dialogue was sponsored by the Baltimore Urban League, Governor Glendening's Office, the YWCA of Greater Baltimore, and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity - Delta Lambda Chapter. As the Reverend Chester Wickwire said, "We still have a ways to go" (Baltimore Sun, May 1, 1998:2B).

DID YOU KNOW?

   A HUD-Commissioned Study Found That Costs Rise By One-Third of One Percent If Builders Comply with the Fair Housing Act During Construction. However, the costs are much higher for remodeling a building that already has been constructed. The lesson is: If you are not sure, contact HUD (410-962-2520) or the Maryland Commission on Human Relations (410-767-8600) to find out what is required (National Fair Housing Advocate, May, 1998:6).

    Taylor Branch's Parting the Waters and Pillar of Fire are being made into an eight-hour ABC television network mini-series. These outstanding histories of the Civil Rights Movement will be the basis of the series, which covers 1960 through 1965. Harry Belafonte and Branch are executive producers. No air date or cast has been announced yet for this Columbia Tri-Star Television production (Philadelphia Inquirer, August 15, 1998).

    At-Risk High School Students Help Each Other - and Themselves. Students are trained to tutor and mentor their peers and younger students at the Peer Tutor/Mentor Program of the East San Gabriel Valley Regional Occupational Program in Los Angeles County. (Field Works, March/April, 1998:6-7).

    We Congratulate Marc Whitman For Being Named "1998 Realtor of the Year" by the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors on July 16, 1998. The Realtors Awards recognize the industry's highest achievers, and are given to those who have made extraordinary contributions to the profession and the community. Melvin Knight of O'Conor, Piper & Flynn ERA received the Community Service Award (Real Estate News, August, 1998:1,7).

   A Study by HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research, Rental Housing Assistance - the Crisis Continues, Said Families with Incomes below 50% of the Area Median Income - "Worst Case Needs" - Should Be Targeted for Housing Assistance. This is important because many families moving from welfare to work need housing assistance to get access to jobs and the stability needed to keep working (Recent Research Results, May, 1998:1).

    The Home Ownership Rate for Minority Households Hit an All-Time High of 46.5% in the First Quarter of 1998. March, 1998, was the seventh consecutive month with new home sales of more than 800,000, a record, according to the May, 1998, issue of U. S. Housing Market Conditions (Recent Research Results, June, 1998:1).

    HUD's "The Locator" is a Great Guide to HUD's Various Programs, Housing Agencies, and Related Services Throughout Maryland. This guide also provides info about lenders, emergency housing, referral services, subsidized rental housing, buying HUD Homes, the FHA Mortgage Insurance program, and Fair Housing. Get your invaluable free copy by contacting HUD at 410-962-2520.

BULLETIN BOARD & SUCH

    On September 10th, Maryland DHCD and Maryland Nonprofits Will Present a Neighborhood Partnership Program Workshop in Columbia. The free workshop - 9:00 a.m.-Noon, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive - will discuss how nonprofits can raise funds, form business partnerships, and obtain State funding. Info: 410-727-6367.

    Universal Design Expo To Be Held Saturday, October 3rd, at Dundalk Community College. The Expo - 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., $5 - will provide information about visitability, affordable modifications, and assistive technologies. Info: 410-444-1400.

    The 12th Annual Realtors Convention is October 14th at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. This Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors' large event usually includes useful information, interesting exhibits, and enjoyment. Info: 410-337-7200.

    The Central Maryland Ecumenical Council Will Hold Its 11th Annual Ecumenical Choral Concert on Sunday, October 18th at 5:00 p.m. Info: 410-467-6194.

    Living in Baltimore, the GBCHRB's radio show, is on "Heaven-600" (600 AM) Saturdays at 5:30 a.m.

    For one or multiple Fair Housing brochures, call the GBCHRB at 410-453-9500. Free Fair Housing Self-Help Guides for dealing with the public also are available.


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