Open Communities HUD Grant Highlights

Read the press release below for more information:

“Outsider Perspectives of Chicago’s Northern Suburbs” Focus Group
• Most participants gave the northern suburbs high marks for good schools and low crime.

• Participants view the entire region (with the notable exception of Evanston and Skokie) as “inaccessible” based on high housing costs; a sense of hostility; and, in some cases, experiences of discrimination.
• Some African American and Latino focus group participants expressed concern about racial profiling of people of color by police. 

Fair Housing Audit
• According to the U.S. Census, between 1990 and 2010, Open Communities’ 16 community service area lost nearly 4,000 rental units (11.6% decrease) while gaining 26,000 for-sale units (27.5% increase). This exacerbated the affordability crisis for low- and moderate-income families.
• Highest incidents of potential discrimination in the rental market were most often based on race (37%), national origin (36%), disability (27%), and familial status (20%).
• Highest incidents of potential discrimination in the sales market were most often based on race (61%), national origin (33%), disability (44%), and familial status (50%).

Real Estate Owned (REO) Property Investigation
• Evidence of discriminatory practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act allege that the maintenance of bank-owned foreclosed REO properties are maintained and marketed in white neighborhoods in a much better manner than in African-American and Latino neighborhoods.
• Open Communities has joined complaints filed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development against Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, US Bank and Safeguard.

Fair Housing Ordinances
• Kenilworth and Winnetka do not address fair housing at the municipal level.
• Deerfield, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Niles, Northbrook and Wilmette do not provide the same protection against housing discrimination as the Federal Fair Housing Act.
• Open Communities has encouraged communities to abandon “crime free ordinances” because of the disparate impact against protected classes. For example, blacks are arrested and not convicted at a higher rate than whites; therefore, demanding that landlords evict a renter based on arrests alone disproportionately affects the housing status of blacks.

Senior Housing Study
• The study revealed that the Equal Housing Opportunity logo was used 90% of the time in print ads advocating for a sense of community in senior housing; however, 95% of the ads featuring individuals used white models only.
• According to the Disability Status Report for Illinois, 48.6% of people aged 75 and over are living with a disability, but in print ads for senior housing, the disability logo was only used in 32% of ads.
• Based on investigative testing, 67% of independent living facilities appeared to be engaging in possible discriminatory practices based on race.

 Affordable Housing as a Fair Housing Issue
• With the exception of Highland Park, suburbs with too little affordable housing by law (that is, under 10%), resist taking affirmative overtures to developers to include lower-cost housing units. The suburbs also have fewer than 10% African Americans and Latinos combined.
• Deerfield, Lincolnwood, and Park Ridge did not submit affordable housing plans to the state in 2005, as required under the Affordable Housing Planning & Appeal Act.
• These suburbs as well as Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Morton Grove, Northbrook, Northfield, Wilmette and Winnetka must submit updated plans by June 2015.

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