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Report: Fair Housing Center Needed to Fight Discrimination

Posted September 18, 2007

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— Minorities in Raleigh have a harder time obtaining mortgages, and the city should establish a department to educate consumers and enforce fair housing laws, according to a draft city report released Tuesday.

The "Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice" report, conducted over the past year to comply with federal grants Raleigh receives, found that minorities originated 23.7 percent of mortgages in the city in 2005 but accounted for 41.1 percent of denied home loans.

Overall, more than 15 percent of mortgages to minority borrowers were rejected, compared with 7 percent of mortgages to whites, the report showed. Among low- and moderate-income borrowers, 21 percent of minorities were denied mortgages, compared with 10.3 percent of whites. At higher income levels, 9.3 percent of minority applicants were rejected, compared with 4.9 percent of whites.

"Despite similar income levels, minorities have a higher rate of denial than non-minorities," the report said. "There may be additional factors; however, the primary factor appears to be minority status."

The report recommended creating a city fair housing department to encourage and monitor fair lending practices.

Such a center could educate low-income and minority consumers about mortgage lending, credit and home ownership, according to the report. The center also could handle housing complaints, the report said.

Raleigh residents who believe they have been discriminated against in housing have to file a complaint with the state Human Relations Commission.

"Without a local presence and efforts of a local fair housing agency, it is more difficult to raise awareness of the law and the rights granted under the law," the report said. "The lack of a central location for filing complaints and obtaining information about fair housing may constitute a barrier to fair housing."

The City Council scheduled a public hearing next month to review the report.

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  • Steve Crisp Sep 20, 2007

    And many blacks are forced into using those alternative funding and retail sources because they have made huge mistakes in their financial careers.

    When a kid is born into a middle class family, they are taught how to handle money. Dad sits down and insructs them how to manage a checking account. They know how to handle credit. They know how to calculate interest rates. But a kid in a lower class or welfare home gets none of that instruction. They are lured by the come-on ads of places that promise easy money and easy credit and take-it-home-today thinking.

    Granted, in our society, there are more poor whites than blacks in term of sheer numbers, but from a marketing standpoint, it is less expensive to reach poor blacks in order to take advantage of them. Blacks tend to live in defined geographical areas. Then tend to cluster watching television with greater internal cohort similarlty. They tend to read the same local papers.

    They are easier to reach and very profitable to scam.

  • Steve Crisp Sep 20, 2007

    To wcnc:

    "I would think minorities would be very offended by the creation of this department. It implies that they don't know how to think for themselves or ask questions or make decisions about their finances."

    What would clearly constitute an indication that someone has much difficulty managing money and credit?

    The use of check cashing places? Payday loans at some 200 percent interest and fees? Non-bank loan centers that charge 24+ percent interest? Payday payment auto lots? The purchase of money orders to pay regular bills due ot lack of a checking account? Repeated appearances in worthless check crimiinal court? Using a loanshark? Patronizing high-priced flop houses instead of bars? Purchasing staple foods at a convenience store? Rent to own furniture places?

    When you look at all those alternative options, you will find that the patrons are overwhelming black.

    Most blacks know how to handle money, but far too many don't. Many never had role models to teach them.

  • yruatwit Sep 19, 2007

    Who comprises the group that published the "Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice" report? What is their level of education, level of training and where or what are they extracting their data from? What are the reasons for mortgage loan rejections and what are the criteria for approvals? Are the report's findings based on fair, equal and unbiased statistical extrapolation or personal opinion? I'm not convinced that this report is entirely accurate.

  • Harrison Bergeron Sep 19, 2007

    "Before people start reporting on race issues, they should first take into consideration other factors that do not involve race. It just may be that the other factors related to being denied credit happened to be for a particular race. " - legal-immigrant

    legal-immigrant,
    You mean other factors that don't involve RACISM? The factors do involve race, as it has been statically shown that minorities are over-represented in the poor-decision making processes that result in financial debt, criminality, etc.

    The problem is that those who write the articles want to blame this mysterious racism for the collective poor-decision making abilities of minorities. The strange part is how the conveniently exclude Asians as minorities, and how they are under-represented?

  • jeebk04 Sep 19, 2007

    Approval does not only depend upon income. It depends upon income debt ratio, employment history, and other things. We would need to know these missing links before we could make a fair judgement call on whether these folks were discriminated against.

  • legal_immigrant Sep 19, 2007

    Seems like a lot of public reports interject racism. Common! Where's the objectivity?!? Where are the facts? What are the "other factors?"

  • legal_immigrant Sep 19, 2007

    Before people start reporting on race issues, they should first take into consideration other factors that do not involve race. It just may be that the other factors related to being denied credit happened to be for a particular race. This kind of reporting is just nonsense and very misleading. Before reporting these kinds of things, statistical analysis should be done.

  • Sidekick Sep 19, 2007

    Hopefully, the denial is due to the inability of the applicant to repay the mortgage. What is the rate of foreclusures? Is it comparably the same? If blacks have a higher foreclosure rate then whites, then, as a lender, I would be reluctant. Or vice-versa. It's just business.

  • wcnc Sep 19, 2007

    I would think minorities would be very offended by the creation of this department. It implies that they don't know how to think for themselves or ask questions or make decisions about their finances.

    And it all comes down to personal responsibility- I would LOVE a new car, but I can't afford it. I think a bank would give me a loan anyway. If I get that car loan and can't make the payments, that is my own fault and no one elses. If I can't make the decision of how much I can afford in any kind of loan, I really have no business getting a loan. But any bank will willingly sit down with you to go over loan details....And when people hear they don't qualify, instead of working hard so that they will qualify, they go to anyone else to get that loan. That's irresponsible and they need to deal with the consequences of their decisions.

  • shine Sep 19, 2007

    According to what I read yesterday and 10 times in the last month, the problem has NOT been getting the mortgages - the problem has been KEEPING them - forclosures - subprimes.

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