Women In Housing-2015

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Th e M Rep o RT | 51 O r i g i nat i O n s e r v i c i n g a na ly t i c s s e c O n da r y m a r k e t SERVICING the latest The Office of the White House Press Secretary issued the following statement: "Too many Americans are victims of more subtle forms of discrimination, such as preda- tory lending, exclusionary zoning, and development policies that limit affordable housing. This decision re- flects the reality that discrimination often operates not just out in the open, but in more hidden forms. And it preserves a longstanding and important method for challeng- ing and eliminating those practices and continuing the work to end discrimination in housing." Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-California), ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee, stated on the SCOTUS ruling: "I'm pleased that in their decision, the justices recognized the importance of disparate impact lia- bility in uncovering discriminatory intent and noted that appropriate safeguards in the use of dispa- rate impact already exist, such as requiring plaintiffs to demonstrate causality between the defendant's practices and its adverse effects. The disparate impact standard is abso- lutely essential to providing for fair housing throughout our nation. Its decades-long use to weed out discriminatory practices that cre- ate barriers to housing is critically important for minority individuals and communities. But our work is not finished. In Congress, we must continue to fight strongly to protect disparate impact, as Republicans have consistently sought to under- mine law enforcement's ability to combat discrimination in our hous- ing and lending markets." Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, said: "Today's decision is a major victory for civil rights and equal opportunity in America. As recent events have shown, our country continues to struggle with a legacy of racial injustice and inequality. The court's ruling preserves one of the most important tools we have to fight discrimination and ensure that all Americans have fair access to housing and economic opportunity. We need to continue efforts to combat discriminatory practices, not just in housing but in all con- sumer financial markets." The disparate impact issue has become a heated one in housing in the last few years, especially since the Obama administration passed a rule allowing disparate impact claims, which are al- legations made based on neutral practices that may have a dis- criminatory effect, under the Fair Housing Act in February 2013. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project Case centers on allegations that low-income tax credits were awarded to real estate developers who own property in low-income minority-dominated neighbor- hoods and denied to developers who own property in predomi- nantly white neighborhoods. A district court originally ruled that the manner in which the Texas Department of Housing allocated the tax credits, though neutral, had a disparate impact on the basis of race. In March 2014, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals up- held the district court's ruling. The Supreme Court heard arguments for the case back in January. "The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is af- firmed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion," Kennedy wrote in his opinion. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon struck down the rule in November 2014, saying that only claims of intentional discrimination could be made under the Fair Housing Act. At the time of his ruling, Leon said the belief of those in the administra- tion who interpret the Fair Housing Act to allow disparate impact claims "appears to be nothing more than wishful thinking on steroids." The issue as to whether disparate impact claims are allowed under the Fair Housing Act was previously slated to go before the U.S. Supreme Court twice, but both cases settled before it reached that point. In early June, the House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Act, which included an amend- ment added by Scott Garrett (R-New Jersey) that prohibited the Department of Justice from fund- ing disparate impact claims. research Highlights racial disparities Found in servicing, lending, & credit access The recession dealt a severe (and lasting) economic blow to many black homeowners, study shows. t he wealth gap among Americans widened dramatically after the housing market col- lapse. This placed many black homeowners at a huge economic disadvantage, leaving them with limited access to servicing, lend- ers, and credit. Recent research titled "Impact of the US Housing Crisis on the Racial Wealth Gap Across Generations," released by Sarah Burd-Sharp of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and Rebecca Rasch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), identified the growing dispari- ties among blacks and how these issues should be addressed. "Not only were black home- owners devastated by the housing market collapse, they are now being left behind," said Rachel Goodman, staff attorney with the ACLU's Racial Justice Program. "It is very much a tale of two recoveries." The study, conducted for the ACLU by the SSRC, reviewed data from the longitudinal Panel Study on Income Dynamics, focusing on black and white households that owned a home between 1999 and 2011. It also delves into the dramatic changes in wealth and home equity for these families over the course of that time period and predicts how those changes might affect their children and grandchildren. The research found that all households lost wealth from 2007 to 2009 at the height of the hous- ing bust and recession. However, in 2009, median white household wealth ceased to decrease, while median black household wealth dropped steadily. Black households lost an additional 13 percent of their wealth between 2009 and 2011. The SSRC and ACLU deter- mined that the cycle of racial dis- parity will flow into generations to come. A black household's wealth is expected to be nearly 40 percent lower than it would have been without the Great Recession by 2031. This will result in overall wealth disparity between black and white homeowners to grow to 4.5. It was originally forecast to drop to 4 by 2031. "This study makes clear that the devastating impact of the financial crisis on black families' Continued on page 52

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