Amid federal investigations on housing discrimination and historically low mortgage lending rates, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers have announced that they will work together to promote fair housing in minority communities.
Under the partnership the groups plan to conduct joint seminars, workshops and forums on ways to identify unlawful sales, rental and lending and related government contracting discrimination. They will also work together to educate people in all communities about their fair housing and related government contracting rights and avenues available to them should they experience discrimination.
"NAREB has fought the battle over the last 64 years to make sure that people of all colors have access to fair and equal opportunities in housing, which we believe is in the forefront of what America represents,” said Julius Cartwright, president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers. “We are extremely proud to partner with and have the additional reinforcement of HUD on this very important initiative designed to preserve and stabilize minority neighborhoods and communities across the United States."
The partnership comes on the heels of a dismal report from U.S. financial regulators Thursday showing that lending for home purchases fell significantly in 2010, with Blacks and Latinos affected most. According to the data, in terms of mortgage lending, Blacks and Latinos had notably higher gross denial rates than non-Hispanic whites.
"If you are struggling to sustain your home...the report confirms what many working families already know — that mortgage credit, despite historic low rates, is not readily available," said David Berenbaum, chief program officer of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition according to Reuters.
In addition, earlier this summer, the Justice Department launched an investigation into claims that a California town and neighboring cities are unfairly singling out Latino and Black residents who use Section 8 vouchers to pay rent, subjecting residents to unfair searches and police harassment.
The Fair Housing Act was enacted in 1968 and prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, (and as amended) handicap and family status.
(Photo: Scott Olson/GettyImages)