A step forward to eradicate systemic housing discrimination

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Date
July 17, 2015
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By: Jorge A. Colón, The Homebuying Mentors Program Manager

The announcement made by the Obama Administration last week to enforce a new rule to strengthen fair housing practices in the country represents a huge step to address discrimination in a systemic way.

The federal Fair Housing Act and the current state legislation in Massachusetts are excellent resources for individuals to file claims of discrimination in both the housing and rental market. However, the initiative of the Obama Administration is going above and beyond by establishing that the issue of housing discrimination needs to be looked from an institutional perspective more than in a case-by-case basis.

The recent incidents in Baltimore are a perfect example of how communities of color and whites are evidently divided in our nation. This racial segregation limits access to opportunity and perpetuates discriminatory practices. Boston is not the exception to this situation. The black and Hispanic origination of home purchase loans in neighborhoods such as East Boston, Hyde Park, Mattapan and Dorchester, among others, is significantly much higher than in neighborhoods such as Allston-Brighton, Charlestown, South Boston, Back Bay and North End where it’s predominantly white.

The rule, a long-sought goal of civil rights advocates, will require cities to examine their housing patterns for racial discrimination trends and periodically publicly report their findings. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), “HUD will provide publicly open data for grantees to use to assess the state of fair housing within their communities and to set locally-determined priorities and goals.”

The Homebuying Mentors are dedicated to inform potential homebuyers about how the Fair Housing Act protects them. Our commitment now is to make individuals aware of the new developments under the Fair Housing Act.

If you think you have experienced discrimination, here is the contact information of some agencies that can help you: