Fair Housing, But For Whom?

<p>The Fair Housing Act was passed by Congress in 1968, but some minorities still struggle to obtain mortgages and home loans. This article from <em>The Next American City</em> asks why.</p>
December 21, 2007, 5am PST | Nate Berg
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"Whisked through Congress in the aftermath of Martin Luther King's murder, the Fair Housing Act of 1968 aims to overcome housing discrimination. Lax enforcement, however, denies many Americans a fair shake at buying or renting a home (and the act has never protected gay and lesbian couples). You don't have to visit a sundown town, or even an impoverished ghetto, to find that unfair mortgage lending practices steer African Americans away from whiter pastures - even in the cradle of the Civil Rights Movement, Montgomery, Alabama."

"...the Central Alabama Fair Housing Center (CAFHC), a Montgomery Law nonprofit that fields housing discrimination complaints, reports that at all income levels, more than twice as many black Montgomery mortgage seekers were denied loans as whites - for instance, 21 percent versus 9.5 percent in the middle class. Even issued loans suffer a black-skin tax: White applicants averaged $20,000 more. 'When you say whites are statistically richer, then automatically that makes it an economic issue, and not an issue of discrimination,' says Faith Cooper, executive director of CAFHC. 'Truth is, this affects black people at every income level.'"

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Published on Saturday, December 15, 2007 in The Next American City
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