"Editor's note": The following is directly from HUD's site- as sadly, ActiveRain is not one of the 335 sites to which I could've directly shared it.
Overall, this HUD initiative should be looked at as a positive....maybe...I think. But then again, I just don't know. Oftentimes, good folks doing the right thing have trouble recognizing the wrong thing when they see it- and often those same good folks have a hard time believing that others would do the wrong thing when they're told about it. Those folks benefit from these types of things, and the would've-been-discriminated-against folks are the ultimate beneficiaries. All is well, right? Perhaps.
Who doesn't benefit from these types of forums and focuses? The folks (and I count myself among them) that know what's right and know what's wrong- and choose the path of right. This won't help me a bit. This won't change the way I do business and lead me to treat folks any differently than I do now. It won't light a bulb over my head and have me thinking "Dang! I did my background checks on Julio, saw that his credit was great, saw that his rental history and employment history were excellent, discovered he was from Mexico and rejected him. I can't do that?" Nope- not happening.
When you make a commitment to do the right things and stay the course, abiding by Fair Housing laws are a by-product and not your goal. Living by The Golden Rule and treating everyone as your brother is a means towards an end we don't yet know. You can read every document HUD's ever created, you can pore through every pamphlet they've ever distributed, you can tack up all of the Equal Housing Opportunity posters the law requires, and have that cute little house on your business cards- but my military-educated mind can sum things up in three simple words: treat people fairly. Just treat people fairly.
Good folks are also hurt by initiatives such as this. I've always said that if a system can be gamed, it will be gamed- and Fair Housing-land is not immune to it's players. Every person arriving from another country and having their application to rent or purchase rejected will not be a victim of discrimination. Every Realtor that calls one of America's newest residents to inform them they can't be one of their newest residents isn't a scoundrel- and should never be called one or be forced to defend themselves against a false claim.
In keeping an eye and oversight upon our nation's lenders, landlords and Realtors, the scales of justice and fairness cry out that we're all created equal- but the paths some have chosen and poor decisions some have made in destroying their credit has changed them along the way.
Everyone should be judged fairly...everyone should be judged fairly...everyone should be judged fairly. But some folks must accept that part of The American Dream will have to wait until their credit's a little better- and there's nothing wrong with that.
|HUD No. 11-055
April 11, 2011
HUD TO ADDRESS "NATIONAL ORIGIN" HOUSING DISCRIMINATION DURING NATIONAL FAIR HOUSING MONTH
Community talks and media campaign will focus on discrimination against persons of foreign descent
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it will launch an effort to better address national origin based housing discrimination during Fair Housing Month in April. HUD will initiate a national media campaign and a series of community discussions on topics ranging from rental practices to mortgage lending. HUD's first Immigrant Housing Conference, which will educate the public and housing providers about their fair housing rights and responsibilities, will be conducted in Omaha, Nebraska, April 14.
"The new Census data demonstrate that newcomers are settling not only in traditional gateway states. They reside in communities across the Midwest and South. Through this education campaign, HUD will work with communities to prevent housing discrimination and promote immigrant integration into the broader society," said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in rental, sales or home lending transactions based on a person's national origin. This includes discrimination based on a person's ancestry, country of birth outside the United States, and the language they speak. National origin discrimination often involves immigrants or non-English speaking individuals, but can also involve native-born U. S. citizens based on their family ancestry. This type of discrimination may also occur in conjunction with the other protections of the Fair Housing Act against race, color, religion, gender, disability, and family status discrimination.
One part of HUD's "Live Free" national media campaign is a print advertisement featuring a Latino worker looking into the horizon, with a caption in Spanish reading: "You have the right to live where you choose. Report housing discrimination."
HUD also recently awarded nearly $41 million to 108 fair housing organizations and non-profit agencies across the country to educate the public and combat housing and lending discrimination. Many of the groups will use the grants to address discrimination against immigrants, Latinos, non-native English speakers and minority communities. See this selected list of grantees and their work.
Some examples of how the grants will be used to combat national origin discrimination include:
- The Fair Housing Council of Riverside County, California, will test for discrimination in the sale and rental of housing units in the area of national origin;
- The Equal Rights Center in Washington, DC, will investigate 240 new complaints of housing discrimination alleging violation of federal fair housing laws with an emphasis on national origin;
- The Idaho Legal Aid Services will broadcast public service announcements in Spanish about FHA lending information; and
- Prairie State Legal Services in Rockford, Illinois, will focus on educational outreach to Spanish-speaking residents, a group recognized statewide as at-risk.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.