Individuals looking to rent property in Michigan for themselves or their families may be denied by landlords if they receive assistance. However, a Senate bill that has the support of both parties would make that illegal. Specifically, it would broaden the Fair Housing Act (FHA) by banning landlords from discriminating based on income or because a person was a veteran. Currently, there is no federal protection against such discrimination.
Many people throughout Michigan and across the country still face unlawful discrimination in housing and lending. According to a new lawsuit, Liberty Bank discriminated against mortgage borrowers in African American and Latino neighborhoods in two Connecticut cities. The lawsuit was filed by the National Consumer Law Center and the Connecticut Fair Housing Center. They accused the bank of "redlining," denying home loans or avoiding giving credit to buyers because of the racial or ethnic identifications of their neighborhoods.
A federal appeals court has ruled that undocumented immigrants may not necessarily be excluded from bringing housing discrimination claims. Michigan residents might be interested to learn how the court came to that ruling and what impact it might have. The judge who wrote the opinion said that the plaintiffs in the case had presented evidence sufficient to suggest that a requirement that applicants have proof of legal status could be harmful to Latinos as a class. Latinos are a protected class under the Fair Housing Act.
Many people in Michigan and across the country are watching with interest ongoing developments in fair housing law. In August, the Department of Housing and Urban Development began to make changes to the rules that guide local jurisdiction in compliance with and enforcement of the Fair Housing Act. Earlier in the year, the Trump administration had suspended a rule drafted by the Obama administration that was intended to assist local areas in meeting their obligations under the FHA to avoid housing discrimination and provide options for affordable housing.
Michigan residents may be aware that the Fair Housing Act protects individuals against discrimination based on gender and other attributes. However, a Missouri retirement community called Friendship Village recently rejected a lesbian married couple citing the fact that they were married. This was after they toured the facilities and made a $2,000 deposit. Friendship Village reportedly believes that marriage is between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible.
People of color in Michigan and throughout the country are often shown homes in areas with poor environmental quality compared to white people. This is the finding of a study prepared for the National Bureau of Economic Research. Its results show that people of color are often steered into neighborhoods that are close to toxic sites or that have high levels of air pollution.
Bay View Association in Petoskey is under investigation for allegedly requiring homeowners to have Christian beliefs as a condition of residency. In addition, homeowners there have claimed that they aren't allowed to transfer their property to family members who aren't Christian. This is despite the fact that the community was told by the U.S. Department of Federal Housing that it isn't exempt from an anti-discrimination law.
Those who are seeking housing in Michigan may find that they are the victims of sexual harassment. While victims can be of either gender, they are often single women with children or those who have limited housing options because of their income. Regardless of whether harassment is physical or verbal, it is illegal under the Fair Housing Act. Despite this, victims often choose not to report what has happened to them.
Michigan readers may be concerned to learn that the Trump administration is eliminating a rule that helps communities enforce the Fair Housing Act of 1968, or FHA. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development published the decision in the federal register on May 23. The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, or AFFH, rule required cities and towns to prove they had plans to reduce segregation before they could receive federal funds. Created by the Obama administration, the rule was intended to provide cities with a comprehensive tool to measure their compliance with the FHA, which has been poorly enforced since its passage. However, before scrapping it, HUD had already taken steps to delay the rule's implementation for several years, which prompted the State of New York and a group of housing activists to sue the administration.
Michigan residents may have heard about a lawsuit against Ben Carson and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. The suit was filed because HUD had announced that it would delay implementation of Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. It was designed to prevent segregation when looking for housing. New York state recently announced that it was going to take part in the national suit filed by fair housing advocates.