Fair housing groups add to discrimination complaint against Bank of America

A group of fair housing organizations today released new information pointing to Bank of America’s continued failure to market and maintain foreclosed properties in African American and Latino neighborhoods.  The groups are amending their original housing discrimination complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2012 to include more than 30 additional metropolitan regions.  FSRN’s Noelle Galos reports:

Today marks the one year anniversary of a housing discrimination complaint filed by fair housing and civil rights organizations against Bank of America, one of the largest US banks responsible for managing foreclosed properties.  The complaint was originally based on investigations in 8 US metropolitan regions, including Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, Oakland and Washington, DC. The National Fair Housing Alliance and others found that bank-owned properties in white neighborhoods received substantially better maintenance and marketing than those in communities of color.  Shanna Smith is CEO of the Alliance.

“It’s about, is Bank of America maintaining the outside of the property? Are they taking care of it in a way that increases or maintains the value of the house so the trust that’s holding these mortgages makes a profit?”

Houses that are kept up are more likely to sell, improving the overall prosperity and desirability of a neighborhood.  The NFHA says despite filing the federal complaint a year ago, investigations reveal Bank of America has made little progress in its treatment of properties in neighborhoods of color.  The bank has denied the allegations, stating that their treatment of bank-owned homes is the same regardless of region or property value.  Noelle Galos, FSRN, Washington.

Bank of America maintenance of REO properties in the greater Dayton area (via Miami Valley Fair Housing Center)

Listen or download audio file here.

 

Advertisements

Voices and Sounds of the 2013 March on Washington

As March on Washington marks 50 years, youth call for equality and justice in ongoing struggle

August 26, 2013 | Washington, DC — At the national program commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Representative John Lewis, the youngest speaker at the original March on Washington in 1963, put out a call to action for youth to stand up for voting rights, immigration reform and equality.

“Back in 1963 we didn’t have a cellular telephone, iPad, iPod, but we used what we had to bring about a non-violent revolution. And I said to all of the young people, you must get out there and push and pull and make America what America should be for all of us.”

The crowds in Washington Saturday were filled with many youth activists. FSRN’s Noelle Galos spoke to some of them about what the gathering meant to them and their dreams for the future.

Those are the voices of Howard University students, Chelsi Davis, Charissa More, Debra Samuel, Ashley Washington, and Asia Quick; Loyala University student Theda Tann; Amuche Nwafor, senior at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, MD; Mackenzie Williams, student at Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria, VA; Tyla Goodridge, Teen President of the Greater New Haven Youth Council; and Avery Steck, a DC-area high school student.

Read more or listen to the audiocast here (via Free Speech Radio News)

Local DC activists draw attention to racial profiling, incarceration ahead of March on Washington anniversary

August 23, 2013 | Washington, DC — Events marking the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington are taking place across the country.  Illinois State University students are organizing a series of performances to pay tribute to Bayard Rustin, an organizer of the 1963 march. In Detroit, where Martin Luther King, Jr. originally delivered a version of his “I Have a Dream” speech, thousands gathered for a march earlier this summer. Now, that energy is coming to Washington, DC, site of the historic march and rally. Several days of events kick off this weekend. Marchers will gather Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial to protest against a number of civil rights issues that persist: the attack on voter rights, racial profiling, poverty and discrimination. Local activists are organizing to have a share in the weekend’s events, and they hope to address racial profiling within DC law enforcement, which they say is part of the “New Jim Crow.” They are planning two feeder marches from opposite ends of the city, and hope to bring national attention to racial inequalities in the Nation’s Capital. Laura Lising, one of the group’s organizers, explained to FSRN why the group was formed and how they are plugging in their campaign to the March…

Read more or listen to the audiocast here (via Free Speech Radio News)