2015 Fair Housing Month Opening Program

2015 Fair Housing Month Opening Program


>>GOOD MORNING TO THOSE ON
THE WEST COAST, WHO IS DOING THIS BY VIDEO, AND GOOD
AFTERNOON TO THOSE HERE IN THE BROOKE MONDALE
AUDITORIUM. HAPPY FAIR HOUSING MONTH!
>>[APPLAUSE]>>THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE
TO HELP US COMMEMORATE THE 47TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE
PASSAGE OF THE FAIR HOUSING ACT OF 1968, AND I AM
DELIGHTED TO HAVE OUR FIRST CLASS OF TRAINEES TO JOIN US.
MY JOB IS TO INTRODUCE OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM SINGER FROM
THE OFFICE OF FAIRING AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, MR. BRUCE
BAILEY.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>>>�
>>�>>�
>>[APPLAUSE]>>GOOD AFTERNOON.
LET’S GIVE ANOTHER ROUND OF APPLAUSE TO BRUCE BAILEY!
>>[APPLAUSE]>>WELCOME, EVERYONE, TO THIS
YEAR’S FAIR HOUSING MONTH KICKOFF PROGRAM.
IT HAS BEEN 47 YEARS SINCE PRESIDENT JOHNSON SIGNED INTO
LAW THE FAIR HOUSING ACT. ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT
ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, AND ONE OF
OUR DEMOCRACY’S MOST CRITICAL LAWS THAT PROVIDE ALL
AMERICANS WITH INDIVIDUAL CHOICE AND FAIRNESS WITH
RESPECT TO ONE OF HUMAN BEINGS’ MOST BASIC RIGHTS: A
PLACE TO CALL HOME. THE FAIR HOUSING ACT BECAME 3
LAW THREE YEARS AFTER HUD WAS FOUNDED.
HUD CELEBRATES 50 YEARS THIS YEAR.
SHORTLY AFTER THE FAMOUS REPORT BY THE KERNER
COMMISSION WHICH OUTLINED THE VAST INEQUALITIES OUR COUNTRY
WAS EXPERIENCING, THE FAIR HOUSING ACT BECAME LAW, ALSO
THREE YEARS AFTER THE MARCH ON SELMA.
PRESIDENT OBAMA AND SECRETARY CASTRO WERE PART OF THE 50TH
ANNIVERSARY OF THE MARCH A FEW WEEKS AGO, AND THE
PRESIDENT SPOKE THERE ABOUT THE TREMENDOUS PROGRESS WE
HAVE MADE IN OUR SOCIETY DURING THE LAST 50 YEARS.
BUT HE ALSO REMINDED US THAT THE MARCH IS NOT YET OVER.
IT IS NOT OVER FOR US HERE AT HUD WHERE WE ARE CHARGED WITH
PROTECTING OUR CIVIL RIGHTS IN HOUSING THROUGH THE WORK
OF THE OFFICE I AM HONORED TO LEAD, IN COOPERATION WITH
OFFICES AND PROGRAMS ACROSS THE DEPARTMENT.
AND IN CLOSE WORKING PARTNERSHIP WITH OTHER
FEDERAL ENTITIES SUCH AS THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT, AND LOCAL
PARTNERS IN COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
SO FIRST I WANT TO SAY TODAY, THANK YOU TO OUR FAIR HOUSING
PARTNERS AND ADVOCATES FOR THE GREAT WORK.
SOME OF THEM ARE WITH US TODAY.
THANK YOU TO THE HUD STAFF WHO WORKED IN OTHER PROGRAM
AREAS, FOR BEING HERE OR WATCHING VIA WEBCAST.
IT REALLY TAKES AN ENTIRE AGENCY, WORKING AS ONE HUD,
WHEN IT COMES TO CREATING SUSTAINABLE AND INCLUSIVE 4
COMMUNITIES. AND OF COURSE, THANK YOU TO
THE STAFF OF THE OFFICE OF FAIR HOUSING AND EQUAL
OPPORTUNITY HERE IN D.C. AND ACROSS THE NATION.
WE THE LEADERS AND PRINCIPALS ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS THE FOLKS
IN THE FIELD ON THE GROUND, AND I AM DELIGHTED TO HAVE
THE OPPORTUNITY THIS AFTERNOON TO HAVE HERE
SECRETARY JULIAN CASTRO. SECRETARY CASTRO IS
INDENIABLY COMMITTED TO THE WORK OF FHEO AND THE GOALS OF
CREATING FAIR AND INCLUSIVE COMMUNITIES AS A WAY TO LEVEL
THE PLAYING FIELD FOR EVERYONE AND I REMIND HIM
THAT WHEN HE SAYS HUD, IT IS THE DEPARTMENT OF
OPPORTUNITY. I REMIND HIM THERE’S ONLY ONE
OFFICE THAT HAS ONLY ONE OPPORTUNITY IN ITS NAME.
>>[APPLAUSE]>>WE HAVE A TERRIFIC SPEAKER
WITH US TODAY. I’M SO HONORED THAT SHE
ACCEPTED. I WILL BE INTRODUCING HER IN
A FEW MINUTES. BUT LET ME FIRST SAY THIS
APRIL AS I TRAVEL THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY COMMEMORATING
FAIR HOUSING MONTH I WILL BE TALKING ABOUT THE DECISIVE
STEPS WE ARE TAKING TO COMBAT UNLAWFULLY HOUSING.
OF THE NEARLY 8500 COMPLAINTS, HUD AND ITS
PARTNER AGENCIES RECEIVED LAST YEAR, OF WHICH
94 PERCENT WERE RESOLVED, THIS RESULTED IN ALMOST
$33 MILLION IN COMPENSATION FOR VICTIMS AND VICTIMS’
FUNDS. THIS INCLUDES CASES INVOLVING 5
WOMEN WHO WERE DENIED MORTGAGES BECAUSE THEY WERE
PREGNANT OR ON MATERNITY LEAVE.
THIS INVOLVED PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES WHO WERE DENIED
ACCESSIBLE HOUSING. INDIVIDUALS DENIED HOUSING
BECAUSE OF THEIR NATIONALITY OR BECAUSE THEY DON’T SPEC
ENGLISH. FAMILIES WHO ARE
DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BECAUSE THEY HAVE CHILDREN.
BUT THIS MONTH, I WILL BE ALSO TALKING ABOUT PROACTIVE
MEASURES THAT WE CAN TAKE, WORKING IN CONCERT WITH LOCAL
JURISDICTIONS, AND THEY HAVE BECOME SUCCESS STORIES IN
MANY PARTS OF OUR COUNTRY, PROACTIVE STEPS THAT CREATE
THE APPROPRIATE CONDITIONS TO HAVE A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD,
ONE WHERE EVERYONE HAS AN EQUAL SHOT AT FREEDOM OF
CHOICE AND SOCIAL MOBILITY. AND THAT IS WHY THE WORK ON
THE WAY TO THE EFFORTS TO FURTHERING FAIR HOUSE IRAQ SO
CRITICAL THIS YEAR. I INVITE YOU TO FOLLOW THE
SECRETARY ON TWITTER THROUGHOUT THE MONTH AND
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND WAYS TO FURTHER ADVANCE THE
HOUSING ACROSS THE NATION. FINALLY, YOU WILL NOTICE SOME
OF THE POSTERS ROTATED ON THE SCREENS THAT WE ARE RELEASING
FOR THE FIRST TIME TO THE PUBLIC AS PART OF OUR 2015
NATIONAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN. THE CAMPAIGN IS BEING
CONDUCTED BY THE NATIONAL FAIR HOUSING ALLIANCE, ONE OF
OUR STRONGEST PARTNERS, IN THE FIGHT AGAINST HOUSING
DISCRIMINATION. AND THIS APP HAS THREE 6
MESSAGES: THE FIRST IS THAT HUD IS COMMITTED TO CREATING
THRIVING COMMUNITIES WHERE EVERYONE HAS THE SAME
OPPORTUNITY TO SUCCEED. THE SECOND IS THAT NO ONE
SHOULD BE DENIED A CHANCE TO PURCHASE OR REFINANCE A HOME
BECAUSE OF HIS OR HER MEMBERSHIP IN ONE OF THE
PROTECTED TRADES, AND THE THIRD IS DISCRIMINATION
AGAINST PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES HAS NO PLACE IN
AMERICA TODAY. YOU WILL BE SEEING THESE
THESE MESSAGES THROUGHOUT SOCIAL MEDIA AND MEDIA
OUTLETS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY AND YOU ARE WELCOME
TO DOWNLOAD THIS APP ON OUR WEBSITE.
NOW IT IS MY DISTINCT PLEASURE TO INTRODUCE OUR
ALLY, OUR FRIEND, OUR PARTNER IN THE BATTLE TO END HOUSING
DISCRIMINATION. WE ARE VERY LUCKY TO HAVE HIM
WITH US TODAY. LET’S GIVE A HAND TO
SECRETARY JULIAN CASTRO.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>GOOD AFTERNOON! THANK YOU VERY MUCH GUSTAVO
FOR THE INTRODUCTION AND FOR YOUR SPECTACULAR WORK AT
FHEO. GUSTAVO HAS JUST DONE A
SPECTACULAR JOB, AND I’VE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF WITNESSING
THAT OVER THESE FIRST EIGHT MONTHS OF MY TENURE.
I ALSO WANT TO THANK THE ENTIRE FHEO TEAM.
RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU ARE OUT THERE.
ALL RIGHT!>>[APPLAUSE]
>>LET’S GIVE IT UP FOR FHEO.>>[APPLAUSE] 7
>>AND I WANT TO THANK ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
GUPTA FOR BEING HERE AND FOR THE IMPORTANT WORK THAT YOU
AND DO. J DO EVERY DAY TO GIVE LIFE
TO THE FAIR HOUSING ACT AND BE OUR GREAT PARTNERS IN
THIS. THANK YOU FOR YOUR EFFORTS.
AND TO EVERYONE IN THE AUDIENCE, HAPPY FAIR HOUSING
MONTH! IT’S GOOD TO GET TO CELEBRATE
IT WITH YOU ALL ON THIS APRIL 1ST.
APRIL FOOL’S. FOLKS KNOW THAT AS MUCH AS WE
CELEBRATE TODAY, REALLY IT’S SERIOUS BUSINESS.
I DID HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY A FEW WEEKS AGO TO BE ONE OF
MANY FOLKS IN THE AUDIENCE AS PRESIDENT OBAMA SPOKE IN
FRONT OF THE EDMUND PETTIS BRIDGE TO COMMEMORATE 50
YEARS SINCE BLOODY SUNDAY. AFTER HIS SPEECH IN THE 10
SECONDS THAT I HAD A CHANCE TO SPEAK BRIEFLY WITH THE
PRESIDENT, I TOLD HIM THEY THOUGHT THAT THAT SPEECH WAS
THE MOST INSPIRING SPEECH THAT HE HAS GIVEN AS
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
IN HIS SPEECH, HE SPOKE TO THE CHALLENGES THAT WE HAVE
SEEN OVER THE LAST 50 YEARS, BEGINNING WITH SELMA AND THE
CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT THAT FOLLOWED IT, CHALLENGES OF
CHANGING LAWS, OF CHANGING HEARTS AND MINDS, AND HE ALSO
MADE THE POINT, THOUGH, THAT WE WOULD BE REMISS TO NOT
ACKNOWLEDGE THE PROGRESS THAT WE HAVE MADE IN THOSE 50
YEARS, BECAUSE WE TRULY HAVE COME A LONG WAY. 8
THE FAIR HOUSING ACT CAME TO LIFE IN 1968, SHORTLY AFTER
DR. KING’S ASSASSINATION. AND AT THE TIME, IT WAS AND
IT STILL IS A LANDMARK PIECE OF LEGISLATION, MEANT TO
ENSURE THAT EVERYONE IN THIS COUNTRY HAS THE OPPORTUNITY
TO FIND A HOME WITHOUT THE OBSTACLE OF DISCRIMINATION.
IT MADE IT ILLEGAL TO DISCRIMINATE IN HOUSING
TRANSACTIONS BASED ON RACE, COLOR, NATIONAL ORIGIN,
RELIGION, AND LATER, THE ACT WOULD BE AMENDED TO INCLUDE
SEX, FAMILIAL STATUS, AND DISABILITY.
WHAT WE KNOW, THOUGH, IS THAT THE WORDS ON A PAGE ARE
POWERFUL, BUT THEY ARE ALSO LIMITED.
IT TAKES THE WORK OF FOLKS LIKE OUR FHEO TEAM AND THE
STAFF AT DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND PEOPLE ALL AROUND
THE COUNTRY TO BREATHE LIFE INTO THOSE WORDS AND TO MAKE
THOSE PROTECTIONS REAL. WE’VE COME A LONG WAY IN
THESE PAST 47 YEARS SINCE THE FAIR HOUSING ACT WAS PASSED,
BUT WE KNOW THAT AS PRESIDENT OBAMA ALSO SAID, THERE IS
STILL A LONG WAY TO GO. FOR INSTANCE, WE KNOW THAT
WE’VE SEEN STUDIES SHOWING THAT HISPANIC AND
AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND ASIAN RENTERS ARE ABOUT 10 PERCENT
LESS LIKELY — ARE SHOWN 10 PERCENT PROPERTIES WHEN
THEY GO INTO THE RENTAL MARKET, SAME THING WITH FOLKS
WHO SEEK TO BUY A HOME. WE SEE WHEN WE LOOK AT
AMERICA’S NEIGHBORHOODS STILL CONCENTRATIONS OF POVERTY AND
CONCENTRATIONS OF THE SAME GROUP OR GROUPS OF PEOPLE. 9
WE SEE ATTITUDES THAT EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE COME A LONG
WAY IN 50 YEARS SOMETIMES STILL PERSIST, AND THE WORK
THAT IS DONE ON A DAILY BASIS BY OUR FAIR HOUSING OFFICE,
CONTRACTING WITH NONPROFITS TO GO SEND OUT TESTERS,
TAKING IN COMPLAINTS AND MAKING SURE THAT THOSE
COMPLAINTS ARE ADDRESSED OFTEN TIMES WORKING WITH THE
FOLKS WHO ARE ON THE OTHER END OF THAT COMPLAINT TO
ENSURE THAT POLICES ARE IMPROVED, AND LITTLE BY
LITTLE, THAT HOUSING MARKET IS OPENED UP.
THAT IS THE TOUGH DAY BY DAY, BUT PRACTICAL AND IMPACTFUL
WORK THAT IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE, A SEAT CHANGE TO
WHAT WE SAW IN 1968 VERSUS WHAT WE SEE TODAY AND EVEN
MORE SO WHAT WE WANT TO SEE IN THE FUTURE.
YOU KNOW, I HAVE A DAUGHTER WHO IS SIX YEARS OLD, SHE
JUST TURNED SIX, AND ABOUT A YEAR AGO, MY MOTHER, WHO USED
TO BE IN THE OCHIGANO MOVEMENT IN THE LATE ’60S AND
’70s, SO YOU CAN IMAGINE SHE IS QUITE LIBERAL, SHE GOT
HER THIS BOOK AND THE BOOK IS CALLED “SEPARATE IS NEVER
EQUAL”, AND IT’S A CHILDREN’S BOOK.
IT’S A CHILDREN’S REPRESENTATION OF THE MENDEZ
VERSUS WESTMINSTER CASE THAT BEGAN TO DESEGREGATE
CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS. AND WHEN I GOT IT AS A
PARENT, I DIDN’T KNOW QUITE WHAT TO MAKE OF IT, WHETHER I
SHOULD ACTUALLY READ — I READ THE BOOK MYSELF BUT
WHETHER OR NOT I SHOULD PRESENT THAT TO A 10
FIVE-YEAR-OLD CHILD. BECAUSE IT’S STRONG STUFF
ABOUT THE PAST, AND YOU NEVER KNOW HOW YOUR KID IS GOING TO
TAKE THAT. AT THE SAME TIME, YOU WANT TO
PREPARE CHILDREN FOR WHAT THEY MIGHT POSSIBLY ENCOUNTER
IN THE FUTURE. AND THE BEAUTY OF OUR WORK IS
THAT WE ARE WORKING WITH SO MANY OTHER AMERICANS TO MAKE
SURE THAT THIS NEXT GENERATION, WHETHER IT’S IN
THE CONTEXT OF SCHOOLS OR JOBS OR OF HOUSING, THAT
THESE YOUNG PEOPLE DON’T HAVE TO EXPERIENCE WHAT
GENERATIONS BEFORE HAD TO EXPERIENCE, AND THAT THEY CAN
SEE AN AMERICA THAT TRULY IS COLORBLIND AND ONE WHERE
EVERYONE CAN PROSPER AND HAVE A GREAT PIECE OF THE AMERICAN
DREAM. SO AS YOU WORK TOWARD THAT,
WE RECOGNIZE IT DURING FAIR HOUSING MONTH.
>>–>>[SPEAKING IN SPANISH]
>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THAT.
>>[APPLAUSE]>>
>>THANK YOU MR. SECRETARY, AND THANK YOU FOR THOSE
THOUGHTFUL REMARKS ABOUT THE WORK BEING DONE BY MY OFFICE
AND HOW IMPORTANT OUR EFFORTS TO HUD’S LARGER MISSION.
FOLKS, OUR KEYNOTE SPEAKER FOR TODAY’S PROGRAM, VANITA
GUPTA, ACTING ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL S. NO
STRANGER TO CIVIL RIGHTS. HER FIRST CASE AS AN ATTORNEY
WITH THE NAACP LEGAL DIVISION AND EDUCATION FUND INVOLVED
LEADING AN EFFORT TO WIN THE RELEASE OF 40 11
AFRICAN-AMERICANS IN TULIA, TEXAS, WHO HAD BEEN CONVICTED
ON CHARGES AND SENTENCED TO YEARS IN PRISON.
ALL OF THE DEFENDANTS WERE ULTIMATELY PARDONED BY
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY, AND SHE HELPED NEGOTIATE A $6 MILLION
SETTLEMENT FOR THE DEFENDANTS.
IT WAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST PROFILE CASES OF RACIAL
INJUSTICE IN YEARS, AND ESTABLISHED HER REPUTATION AS
BEING A TRAILBLAZER ON CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUES.
EVEN HOLLYWOOD TOOK NOTE AND HAS DECIDED, AT LEAST THAT’S
WHAT WE HEAR THE PLAN IS, TO MAKE A MOVIE ABOUT THE CASE.
YOU KNOW, A LOT OF US TALK ABOUT PLAYERS IN OUR MOVIE
ABOUT OUR LIFE. VANITA HAS THE UNUSUAL
BENEFIT OF ACTUALLY KNOWING. THE PLAN CONTINUES TO BE FOR
HALLE BERRY IN THE ROLE. THAT’S VERY IMPRESSIVE.
IN HER NEW POSITION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, SHE IS
RESPONSIBLE FOR DIRECTING HOW THE AGENCY PROCEEDS IN
FEDERAL INVESTIGATIONS SURROUNDING EVENTS SUCH AS
THE RECENT SHOOTING IN FERGUSON, MISSOURI, AND OTHER
HIGH PROFILE CASES THAT WILL NO DOUBT SHAPE THE COURSE OF
CIVIL RIGHTS IN OUR NATION FOR THE YEARS TO COME.
AND OF COURSE, THIS INVOLVES LITIGATING HOUSING
DISCRIMINATION CASES IN FEDERAL COURT UNDER THE FAIR
HOUSING ACT, MANY OF WHICH ORIGINATE HERE AT HUD IN
PARTNERSHIP WITH THE OFFICE OF FAIR HOUSING AND EQUAL
OPPORTUNITY, AND THE OFFICE OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL. 12
THANK YOU VANITA FOR THE GREAT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN
OUR OFFICES, AND I KNOW THAT UNDER YOUR LEADERSHIP, THIS
PARTNERSHIP WILL ONLY BECOME STRONGER.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, PLEASE WELCOME VANITA GUPTA, ACTING
ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>>>BRIAN AND I HAVE BEEN
FRIENDS FOR A LITTLE WHILE AND HE IS IN TROUBLE FOR I
THINK INTRODUCING GUSTAVO IN HIS INTRODUCTORY REMARKS, BUT
THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I’M REALLY, REALLY, TRULY
HONORED TO BE HERE TO BE INVITED TO SPEAK, AND I WANT
TO THANK SECRETARY CASTRO FOR HIS INCREDIBLE LEADERSHIP ON
THESE ISSUES. I’VE BEEN A GREAT ADMIRER OF
HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS, OF HIS COMMITMENT, TO ENSURING EQUAL
OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL AMERICANS.
I ALSO WANT TO THANK BRIAN AND SECRETARY VALES QUESTIONS
FOR THE INVITATION TO SPEAK HERE TODAY AND TO ALL OF THE
FHEO STAFF AND HUD STAFF THAT ARE HERE.
THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AND HUD IS
VERY, VERY STRONG. WE CANNOT DO THIS WITHOUT
EACH OTHER. AND IT IS REALLY A PRIVILEGE
TO BE HERE TODAY TO SPEAK WITH ALL OF YOU AND HAPPY
FAIR HOUSING MONTH. I’M REALLY GRATEFUL, ALSO, TO
SPEAK ABOUT THE WORK THAT THE CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION DOES
ALONGSIDE HUD, AND TO REALLY CELEBRATE THE FAIR HOUSING
ACT TODAY. IT IS A VERY IMPORTANT TIME 13
TO DO SO. RECENT EVENT VERSUS NO DOUBT
THROWN A SPOTLIGHT ON THE RACIAL DIVISIONS THAT CUT
INTO FAR TOO MANY COMMUNITIES AROUND THIS COUNTRY, AND THE
TOPIC OF CIVIL RIGHTS HAS REALLY SHIFTED ONCE AGAIN
INTO THE CENTER OF A NATIONAL CONVERSATION, AND THE ISSUE
OF FAIR HOUSING MUST BE A VERY PROMINENT PART OF THAT
CONVERSATION. FAIR HOUSING, AS ALL OF YOU
KNOW, DETERMINES MUCH MORE THAN WHETHER A FAMILY HAS
SHELTER. FAIR HOUSING IS ABOUT EQUAL
ACCESS TO GOOD JOBS, TO SCHOOLS, TO CREDIT, TO
TRANSPORTATION, TO SAFETY, AND TO A WHOLE RANGE OF
OPPORTUNITIES AND RELATIONSHIPS THAT REALLY
MAKE UP THE BREAD AND BUTTER OF WHAT IT MEANS TO LIVE, AND
THE FAIR HOUSING ACT PUTS THE WEIGHT OF THAT RESPONSIBILITY
ON THE SHOULDERS OF OUR TWO DEPARTMENTS.
IT IS OUR JOB TOGETHER TO ENSURE THAT NOT ONLY THAT
HOUSING DISCRIMINATION DOES NOT FORCE ANY FAMILIES INTO
THE COLD, BUT ALSO THAT EVERY FAMILY HAS EQUAL ACCESS TO
TWO OF THE MOST BASIC RIGHTS OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, EQUAL
OPPORTUNITY AND EQUAL JUSTICE.
NOW, WHEN PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON SIGNED THE FAIR
HOUSING ACT INTO LAW IN 1968, HE PROUDLY EXPLAINED HE WAS
CODIFYING THE PROMISES OF A CENTURY.
THIS AND OUR JOB IS TO FOLLOW THROUGH ON THOSE PROMISES.
THROUGH PERSISTENT AND EVEN-HANDED ENFORCEMENT OF 14
THE FAIR HOUSING ACT OVER THESE LAST DECADES, WE HAVE
ROOTED OUT DISCRIMINATION AND UPHELD BASIC CIVIL RIGHTS FOR
THOSE WHO LIVE IN AMERICA. OFTEN OUR MOST MARGINALIZED
MEMBERS OF OUR MOST VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES.
WE HAVE MADE GREAT, GREAT STRIDES FORWARD AND WE
CERTAINLY ARE CLOSER TO REALIZING OUR NATION’S MOST
FUNDAMENTAL COMMITMENTS TO EQUALITY, DIGNITY AND TO
FREEDOM. BUT OUR PRESENCE HERE, AS THE
SECRETARY SAID, AS THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY HAS SAID,
HERE TODAY IS NOT JUST ABOUT A CELEBRATION OF THE PASSAGE
OF THE FAIR HOUSING ACT AND THE PROGRESS WE’VE MADE
SINCE. IT REALLY HAS TO BE AN
OCCASION TO RECOMMIT OURSELVES TO SECURING REAL,
UNFETTERED CHOICES IN HOUSING.
TO THE REVITALIZATION OF OUR MOST VULNERABLE
NEIGHBORHOODS. TO INCREASING ACCESS TO
CREDIT. TO BREAKING DOWN THE VESTIGES
OF SEGREGATION AND TO OPENING THE DOORS OF INTEGRATION.
WE MUST ENSURE THESE PROMISES OF THE LAST CENTURY CONTINUE
TO HAVE REAL MEANING IN PEOPLE’S LIVES IN THE CENTURY
TO COME. BECAUSE OF OUR GREAT STRIDES,
DESPITE WHAT HAS BEEN REMARKABLE ACHIEVEMENTS, IT
IS ALL TOO CLEAR THAT THE CHALLENGES TO FAIR HOUSING
ENDURE. AS PRESIDENT JOHNSON WARNED,
THE ROOTS OF INJUSTICE RUN DEEP, AND RACIAL BARRIERS 15
CONTINUE TO DIVIDE OUR COMMUNITIES.
ELIGIBILITY FOR APARTMENTS, HOUSES, AND MORTGAGES
CONTINUE TO BE INFLUENCED BY WHERE WE WERE BORN, BY THE
COLOR OF OUR SKIN, BY OUR SEX OR DISABILITIES, THE PRESENCE
OF OUR CHILDREN, AND ALMOST HALF A CENTURY AFTER THE FAIR
HOUSING ACT WAS SIGNED INTO LAW, WE CONTINUE TO SEE BASIC
AND BLATANT FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION, AS WELL AS
THE EMERGENCE OF A MORE SUBTLE BUT EQUALLY PERNICIOUS
VARIATIONS OF THAT. RACIAL DISCRIMINATION,
THOUGH, FOR EXAMPLE, IS STILL EVIDENT IN THE RENTAL OF
APARTMENTS. WITHIN THE LAST YEAR, WE
SETTLED A FAIR HOUSING ACT CASE ALLEGING THAT THE OWNERS
OF SEVERAL APARTMENT COMPLEXES IN OHIO TOLD
AFRICAN-AMERICAN APPLICANTS THAT APARTMENTS WEREN’T
AVAILABLE AND THEN TURNED AROUND AND SIGNED NEW LEASES
TO SIMILARLY QUALIFIED WHITE APPLICANTS.
THE COMPLAINT DETAILS COMMENTS BY THE OWNER OF THE
PROPERTY, INCLUDING STATEMENTS THAT, QUOTE
UNQUOTE, BLACK PEOPLE ARE TROUBLE, AND DEROGATORY
RACIAL SLURS, SUGGESTING AFRICAN-AMERICANS CAUSE
PROPERTY VALUES TO GO DOWN. THESE ACTIONS BY LANDLORDS
CANNOT AND WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.
OUR SETTLEMENT REQUIRES DEFENDANTS TO PAY $175,000 TO
VICTIMS IDENTIFIED BY THE UNITED STATES, A $25,000
CIVIL PENALTY, AND AN ADDITIONAL $650,000 IN 16
DAMAGES AND ATTORNEY’S FEES TO PRIVATE PLAINTIFFS AND THE
STATE OF OHIO, AND IT WENT FURTHER.
THE SETTLEMENT ALSO REQUIRES THE DEFENDANTS HIRE AN
INDEPENDENT MANAGEMENT COMPANY TO MANAGE ALL RENTAL
PROPERTIES, HIRE A THIRD PARTY TO INVESTIGATE
COMPLIANCE, RECEIVE TRAINING ON THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE
FAIR HOUSING ACT, AND REPORT BACK TO THE DEPARTMENT
REGULARLY FOR THREE YEARS.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>>>YOU ALL KNOW THAT MANY
POTENTIAL RENTERS HAVE REALLY NO WAY OF KNOWING THEY ARE
BEING TREATED DIFFERENTLY THAN THEIR COUNTERPARTS, AND
FOR EXAMPLE, AFRICAN-AMERICAN APPLICANTS MAY BE TREATED
CORDIALLY BUT WOULD NOT KNOW THAT WHITE APPLICANTS WITH
THE SAME QUALIFICATIONS WOULD BE OFFERED A LOWER PRICE.
SEE MORE OPTIONS AND FIND AN AVAILABLE APARTMENT WHEN THEY
WERE TOLD THERE ACTUALLY WAS NONE.
BECAUSE OF THAT THE HOUSING PROVIDERS ARE TOO OFTEN ABLE
TO MAINTAIN BASIC FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION.
A PREDECESSOR OF TIME, TOM PEREZ, CALLED THIS
DISCRIMINATION IS A SMILE. THROUGH EVIDENCE DEVELOPED BY
THE DIVISION’S FAIR HOUSING TESTING PROGRAM, HOWEVER, WE
CAN COMPARE THE EXPERIENCES OF PROSPECTIVE TENANTS,
GATHER COMMENTS FROM LEASING AGENTS AND PROPERTY MANAGERS,
AND BUILD A CASE. IT IS AN IMPORTANT TOOL IN
OUR ARSENAL, AND WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING TO CONTINUE TO 17
DEVELOP NEW AND CREATIVE WAYS TO DEPLOY IT.
WE ALSO CONTINUE TO SEE GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES RUN
AFOUL OF FAIR HOUSING PRINCIPLES BY TAKING ACTIONS
TO MAINTAIN RESIDENTIAL SEGREGATION, FROM STEERING
RESIDENTS TO HOUSING COMPLEXES BASED ON RACE, TO
LIMITING OPPORTUNITIES TO MINORITIES THROUGH
EXCLUSIONARY ZONING PRACTICES.
AND WE FILE CASES AGAINST HOUSING AUTHORITIES IN
GEORGIA AND LOUISIANA ALLEGING THEY CONTINUE TO
SEGREGATE RESIDENTS BY RACE. WE HAVE SEEN MUNICIPALITIES
AND OPPOSE MORATORIA, STOPPING MULTI FAMILY HOUSING
DEVELOPMENTS AND CHANGE ZONING ORDINANCES TO ACHIEVE
THE SAME EFFECT N SAINT BERNARD PARISH IN LOUISIANA,
THEY TRIED TO STOP RENTALS TO AFRICAN-AMERICANS BY IMPOSING
A BLOOD RELATIVE REQUIREMENT ON RENTALS, AMONG OTHER
REQUIREMENTS. PRIVATE LITIGATION, HUD
ACTION AND THE DOJ LAWSUIT WERE NEEDED TO PUT AN END TO
THOSE PRACTICES AND COMPENSATE VICTIMS.
RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS ARE ANOTHER MECHANISM USED TO
PERPETUATE SEGREGATION. WE RECENTLY SUED OYSTER BAY
ON LONG ISLAND, AN OVER WELL LETTING WHITE COMMUNITY,
BECAUSE WHEN IT DECIDED TO HAVE AFFORDABLE HOUSE, IT
GAVE PREFERENCE TO ITS RESIDENTS.
RACE IS NOT THE ONLY FORM OF DISCRIMINATION WE ENCOUNTER.
IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS EVE ACHIEVED SETTLEMENTS ON TWO 18
CASES ALLEGING FAMILIAL STATUS IN HOUSING.
HUD INVESTIGATED AND CHARGED BOTH CASES AND WE ADDED
PATTERN AND PRACTICE CLAIMS WHEN WE FILED SUIT.
NO BOTH CASE WE ALLEGE THAT PROPERTY OWNERS AND MANAGERS
IMPLEMENTED POLICES THAT RESTRICTED CHILDREN FROM
COMMON AREAS OF THE PROPERTY OR REQUIRED CONSTANT
SUPERVISION FOR ANYONE WHO WAS UNDER THE AGE OF 16.
IN THOSE TWO CASES WE OBTAINED $270,000 IN MONETARY
RELIEF, AND OF COURSE CHANGES IN THE DISCRIMINATORY
PRACTICES. WE CONTINUE TO SEE THE
SCOURGE OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN HOUSING.
IN THREE RECENT SETTLEMENTS THE ALLEGATIONS WERE SIMILAR.
WE ALLEGED THAT AN OTHER THAN OF A PROPERTY, OR AS PROPERTY
MANAGER, ENGAGED IN A PATTERN OR PRACTICE OF SEXUALLY
HARASSING FEMALE TENANTS AND PROSPECTIVE TENANTS, ALL
THREE CASES INVOLVED HORRIFIC CONDUCT.
OUR COMPLAINTS ALLEGE THAT THE DEFENDANTS MADE CONSTANT
UNWANTED SEXUAL COMMENTS AND ADVANCES TOWARDS THEIR FEMALE
TENANTS, THEY EXPOSED THEMSELVES, THEY REQUESTED
SEXUAL ACTS FOR REDUCED RENTS, THEY DELAYED EVICTIONS
OR OTHER HOUSING BENEFITS AND THEY TOOK ADVERSE ACTIONS
WHEN THOSE SEXUAL OVERTURES WERE REFUSED.
SADLY MANY TENANTS IN THESE PROPERTIES FELT THEIR ONLY
CHOICE WAS TO ENDURE THE HARASSMENT OR BE FORCED TO
LIVE WITH THEIR CHILDREN ON THE STREET. 19
BUT BECAUSE A FEW BRAVE WOMEN STEPPED FORWARD AND MADE
COMPLAINTS, WE OBTAINED SIGNIFICANT RELIEF IN THESE
CASES. OVER $4.6 MILLION IN MONETARY
DAMAGES FOR THE VICTIMS. ALL THREE CASES RESULTED IN
SIGNIFICANT INJUNCTIVE RELIEF, IMPOSING STRICT
LIMITATIONS ON THE PROPERTY MANAGERS, INTERACTIONS WITH
EXISTING AND PROSPECTIVE TENANTS, AS WELL AS REQUIRING
EMPLOYEE TRAINING, COMPLIANCE MONITORING, AND INDEPENDENT
MANAGERS FOR THE PROPERTIES AT ISSUE.
WE WILL CONTINUE TO AGGRESSIVELY PROTECT THE
RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS TO BE FREE FROM SEXUAL
DISCRIMINATION IN HOUSING. THE DIVISION HAS FILED THREE
MORE CASES ALLEGING UNWANTED SEXUAL HARASSMENT SINCE
NOVEMBER INCLUDING UNITED STATES VERSUS SOUTHEASTERN
COMMUNITY AND FAMILY SERVICES, A PATTERN OR
PRACTICE CASE WHICH ORIGINATED IN PART FROM A HUD
INVESTIGATION AND REFERRAL. AND THERE, WE ALLEGE THAT
STAFF AT A PUBLIC HOUSING AGENCY ACTUALLY USED THEIR
POSITION TO DEMAND SEXUAL FAVORS FROM FEMALE APPLICANTS
FOR THE SECTION EIGHT HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER PROGRAM.
NOW, ACCESS TO HOUSING FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES
CONTINUES TO BE A PRIORITY FOR THE DIVISION.
IN OUR RECENT CASE AGAINST THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS AND
THE LOUISIANA STATE BOND COMMISSION, WE ALLEGE THAT
THE DEFENDANTS WORKED TO STOP THE CONVERSION OF A FORMER 20
NURSING HOME INTO PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING BECAUSE IT
WOULD SUPPLY HOUSING FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.
UNDER THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT, THE HOUSING
DEVELOPMENT AT ISSUE IS GOING FORWARD AND THE CITY HAS
COMMITTED TO DEVELOP 350 ADDITIONAL BEDS, PERMANENT
SUPPORTIVE HOUSING BEDS, FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS. AND AT THE SAME TIME, THE
CITY IS GOING TO AMEND ITS ZONING ORDINANCE TO MAKE
PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING A PERMITTED USE IN ALL MULTI
FAMILY DISTRICTS AND WILL REFRAIN FROM ANY FUTURE
MORATORIUM OR FUNDING OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN NEW
ORLEANS. IN ADDITION WE FILED A TOTAL
OF NINE CASES IN 2014 ALLEGING A FAILURE TO DESIGN
AND CONSTRUCT RENTAL PROPERTIES TO COMPLY WITH THE
FAIR HOUSING ACCESSIBILITY GUIDELINES PROMULGATED BY
HUD. THESE CASES ARE PART OF OUR
DEPARTMENT’S LONG STANDING EFFORTS TO ENSURE THAT MULTI
FAMILY DWELLINGS ARE BUILT WITH UNITS ACCESSIBLE TO
INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES.
HOMES WHERE SOMEONE USES A WHEELCHAIR IS NOT CONFINED TO
CERTAIN ROOMS. HOMES WHERE PEOPLE WHO USE
WHEELCHAIRS CAN LEAVE AND ENTER WITHOUT ASSISTANCE OR
RISK OF INJURY AND HOMES INTEGRATED INTO OUR
COMMUNITIES, NOT RELEGATED TO THE MARGINS.
TO THAT END, WE ARE ALSO COMMITTED TO COMMUNITY 21
INCLUSION FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES.
THE SUPREME COURT’S RULING IN OLMSTED REQUIRES STATES TO
ELIMINATE UNNECESSARY SEGREGATION OF PEOPLE WITH
DISABILITIES AND TO ENSURE THEY RECEIVE SERVICES IN THE
MOST INTEGRATED SETTING APPROPRIATE TO THEIR NEEDS.
THIS IS A TOP PRIORITY FOR THE DIVISION.
OLMSTED SAID SEPARATE ISN’T EQUAL SEGREGATION OF PEOPLE
WITH DISABILITIES. WE WANT TO END THE
SEGREGATION OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.
SINCE 2009 THE CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION HAS NEGOTIATED
SETTLEMENTS WITH SIX STATES THAT PROVIDE A PATH FOR
PERSONS CONFINED IN LARGE CONGREGATE FACILITIES TO MOVE
THEM INTO THE COMMUNITY. THAT’S WHERE THE FAIR HOUSING
ACT COMES INTO PLAY. WE NEED TO ENSURE THAT
COMMUNITIES DON’T IMPOSE UNNECESSARY BARRIERS TO
HOUSING CHOICES AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE LEAVING THOSE
FACILITIES. WE ARE ENGAGED IN EFFORTS TO
RESOLVE CLAIMS AGAINST TWO MUNICIPALITIES WE BELIEVE
HAVE IMPOSED SUCH UNLAWFUL BARRIERS.
THROUGH THIS WORK THE DIVISION IS TRANSFORMING THE
PARADIGM OF SERVICES PROVIDED TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.
FROM ONE OF SECLUSION AND EXCLUSION TO ONE THAT FOSTERS
INCLUSION AND COMMUNITY INTEGRATION.
OUR EFFORTS AT INTEGRATION WE FOUND MUST ALSO ADDRESS
ISSUES OF POLICING, IF THEY ARE TO TRULY BE EFFECTIVE. 22
AS AN EXAMPLE, ONE OF OUR HUD REFERRALS RESULT A CASE
AGAINST THE CITY OF SAN JACINTO, CALIFORNIA WHERE WE
ALLEGE THE CITY DISCRIMINATED AGAINST PERSONS WITH
DISABILITIES WHEN IT PASSED AN ORDINANCE RESTRICTING THE
OPERATION OF GROUP HOMES AND THEN TARGETED THOSE HOMES FOR
ENFORCEMENT ACTION. THE CITY’S ENFORCEMENT
EFFORTS INCLUDED AN UNANNOUNCED EARLY MORNING
SWEEP BY CITY OFFICIALS AND SHERIFF’S DEPUTIES AND WE
SETTLED THE CASE IN 2014. BECAUSE OF ITS ACTION THE
CITY WILL PAY MORE THAN $750,000 IN DAMAGES,
ATTORNEYS’ FEES AND A CIVIL PENALTY, AND AS PAT OF
SETTLEMENT, THE CITY REWROTE ITS ZONING CODE.
SIMILARLY, IN OUR INVESTIGATION OF THE ANTELOPE
VALLEY STATIONS OF THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF’S
DEPARTMENT, WE FOUND THAT IN RESPONSE TO COMMUNITY
OPPOSITION TO CHANGING RACIAL DEMOGRAPHICS, THE SHERIFF’S
DEPARTMENT IN A LOCAL HOUSING AUTHORITY WORKED TOGETHER TO
TARGET ENFORCEMENT OF THE HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER
PROGRAM AGAINST AFRICAN-AMERICANS WITH THE
GOAL OF TERMINATING THEM FROM THE PROGRAM AND PRESSURING
THEM TO MOVE OUT OF ANTELOPE VALLEY.
AS OUR INVESTIGATION ILLUSTRATES, THE DIVISION IS
COMMITTED TO ENSURING THAT POLICING DOES NOT CONTRIBUTE
TO SEGREGATION AND IS, INSTEAD, A MEANS TO PROMOTE
SAFETY FOR EVERYONE, NO MATTER WHERE THEY CHOOSE TO 23
LIVE. I’D LIKE NOW TO TURN TO THE
DIVISION’S EFFORTS TO COMBAT DISCRIMINATORY LENDING
PRACTICES. FAIR LENDING CONTINUES TO BE
A MAJOR PRIORITY AS WELL FOR THE DIVISION BECAUSE IT’S A
FUNDAMENTAL PART OF FAIR HOUSING.
THE DIVISION FOCUSES ON ALL ASPECTS OF POTENTIALLY
DISCRIMINATORY ACTION BY CREDITORS, AND ALL FORMS OF
LENDING, INCLUDING MORTGAGE LENDING, AUTO LENDING, CREDIT
CARD PRODUCTS, AND UNSECURED CONSUMER LENDING.
A MAJOR FOCUS OF THE DIVISION’S FAIR LENDING WORK,
AND I KNOW IT’S A FOCUS FOR HUD AS WELL, HAS BEEN
MORTGAGE LENDING, AND DISCRIMINATION AT THE BANK
CAN IMPACT A FAMILY’S ABILITY TO ACQUIRE HOUSING, JUST AS
MUCH AS DISCRIMINATION AT THE LEASING OFFICE.
THE HOUSING CRISIS SPARKED IN 2007 WAS DRIVEN BY
IRRESPONSIBLE AND SOMETIMES FRAUDULENT LENDING PRACTICES.
AND WHILE THE DEVASTATION OF THAT CRISIS WAS AND STILL IS
FELT NATIONWIDE, AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND HISPANIC
COMMUNITIES BORE THE BRUNT OF IT.
I’M PROUD TO SAY THOUGH THAT OUR RESPONSE HAS BEEN STRONG.
SINCE 2010, THE DIVISION HAS SETTLED 18 SUITS ALLEGING
DISCRIMINATION IN MORTGAGE LENDING INCLUDING PRICING
DISCRIMINATION, STEERING AND RED LINING AND THE
SETTLEMENTS IN COUNTRYWIDE AND WELLS FARGO ARE THE
LARGEST FAIR LENDING SETTLEMENTS IN THE 24
DEPARTMENT’S HISTORY, SO IT IS IMPORTANT THAT I JUST
SHARE A LITTLE BIT OF THEIR BACKGROUND TODAY.
FORTUNATELY, COMPLAINING THESE TWO CASES ACTUALLY
DOESN’T REQUIRE TOO MUCH TIME.
THE COMPLAINTS THAT WE FILED WERE ACTUALLY QUITE
STRAIGHTFORWARD. ESSENTIALLY, IF YOU WERE
AFRICAN-AMERICAN OR HISPANIC YOU WERE MORE LIKELY TO BE
PLACE A SUBPRIME LOAN OR PAY MORE FOR YOUR MORTGAGE LOAN
THAN IF YOU WERE A WHITE BORROWER WITH SIMILAR
CREDITWORTHINESS, AND THAT PRETTY MUCH SUMS IT UP.
BUT THE IMPACT OF THAT CONDUCT WAS SIGNIFICANT AND
MUCH MORE COMPLICATED. OUR SETTLEMENTS IN THOSE
CASES RECOGNIZED THAT VICTIMS WERE HURT FAR BEYOND IN
PRICES AND TERMS. THE VICTIM COMPENSATION FUNDS
ESTABLISHED THROUGH THE COUNTRYWIDE AND WELLS FARGO
SETTLEMENTS SPECIFICALLY TOOK INTO ACCOUNT THE RESULTING
HARM TO INDIVIDUAL CREDIT AND THE EFFECTS THAT THAT COULD
HAVE ON A PERSON’S ABILITY TO FIND HOUSING, EMPLOYMENT, OR
ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION. IN COUNTRYWIDE, THE BANK
AGREED TO PAY $335 MILLION FOR APPROXIMATELY 200,000
VICTIMS OF DISCRIMINATION. WELLS FARGO PAID OVER
$184 MILLION TO THOUSANDS OF VICTIMS OF STEERING AND
PRICING DISCRIMINATION AND ESTABLISHED A BORROWER
PROGRAM CALLED CITY LEFT WHICH PROVIDED $50,000 IN
PAYMENT ASSISTANCE TO NINE COMMUNITIES NATIONWIDE THAT 25
WERE HEAVILY IMPACTED BY THE HOUSING CRISIS.
AS OF EARLY 2015, WE HAVE DISTRIBUTED TO BORROWERS
91 PERCENT OF THE $335 MILLION COUNTRYWIDE
SETTLEMENT FUND AND 98 PERCENT OF THE MORE THAN
$184 MILLION WELLS FARGO SETTLEMENT FUND, AND THE CITY
LIFT PROGRAM HAS BEEN A RESOUNDING SUCCESS.
OVER 2600 LOANS HAVE BEEN MADE WITH GRANTS THROUGH THAT
PROGRAM, AND WITH GRANTS IN MOST JURISDICTIONS RANGING
FROM $15,000, TO $20,000. HUD’S RESPONSE TO THE HOUSING
CRISIS HAS BEEN EQUALLY STRONG.
HUD’S 2013 SETTLEMENT WITH THE WELLS FARGO IS GOING TO
BRING IN $39 MILLION OF INVESTMENT TO 45 COMMUNITIES
NATIONWIDE. THAT SETTLEMENT AROSE FROM
THE NATIONAL FAIR HOUSING ALLIANCE’S COMPLAINT ALLEGING
THAT WELLS FARGO MAINTAINED AND MARKETED ITS PROPERTIES
IN A STATE OF DISREPAIR IN PREDOMINANTLY
AFRICAN-AMERICAN, LATINO AND NON-WHITE COMMUNITIES
COMPARED TO PREDOMINANTLY WHITE COMMUNITIES WHERE THE
PROPERTIES WERE, QUOTE UNQUOTE, IN A MATERIALLY
BETTER CONDITION. WELLS FARGO’S INVESTMENTS
UNDER THE SETTLEMENT ARE GOING TO HELP IMPROVE HOUSING
IN MINORITY NEIGHBORHOODS THAT HAVE BEEN HARD HIT BY
THE FORECLOSURE CRISIS AND ARE GOING TO SUPPORT
HOMEOWNERSHIP, NEIGHBORHOOD STABILIZATION, PROPERTY
REHABILITATION, AND HOUSING DEVELOPMENT. 26
HUD HAS DONE CRITICAL, CRITICAL WORK IN ENSURING
THAT BORROWERS HAVE EQUAL ACCESS TO LENDING THROUGH ITS
INVESTIGATIONS AND SETTLEMENTS ADDRESSING RED
LINING, MATERNITY LEAVE-RELATED DISCRIMINATION,
AND DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION.
NOW, THE DIVISION’S ENFORCEMENT OF THE SERVICE
MEMBERS’ CIVIL RELIEF ACT IS ANOTHER AREA THAT WE ARE
INCREASINGLY LOOKING AT. THE FTRA PROVIDES PROTECTIONS
DURING THE FORECLOSURE PROCESS SO THAT MEMBERS OF
THE ARMED FORCES CAN FOCUS AS MUCH ATTENTION AS POSSIBLE ON
MILITARY DUTIES WITHOUT ADVERSE CONSEQUENCES FOR THEM
OR THEIR FAMILIES AND GUARANTEES THAT SERVICE
MEMBERS’ REDUCE INTEREST RATES OF 6 PERCENT OR MORE ON
LOANS INCURRED BEFORE ENTERING INTO MILITARY
SERVICE AND RECENTLY THE DIVISION ANNOUNCED NEARLY
1000 SERVICE MEMBERS WHO LOST THEIR HOMES FLU FORECLOSURES
THAT VIOLATED THEIR FTRA RIGHTS WILL BE ELIGIBLE TO
RECEIVE APPROXIMATELY $123 MILLION.
SO AS YOU CAN SEE, THIS WORK IS ALIVE AND WELL, AND WE ARE
VERY BUSY AT OUR TWO AGENCIES, MAKING SURE THAT
THE FAIR HOUSING ACT IS A LIVING AND BREATHING
DOCUMENT. WE HAVE MADE FAIR HOUSING AND
FAIR LENDING A PRIORITY AT THE CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION,
AND IN FISCAL YEAR 2014 ALONE, THE DIVISION’S HOUSING
AND CIVIL ENFORCEMENT SECTION, MANY OF WHOM ARE 27
REPRESENTED HERE TODAY, FILED 34 CASES, INCLUDING 25 CASES
WITH PATENT OR PRACTICE CLAIMS.
OVER HALF OF THE CASES ORIGINATED HERE AT HUD,
EITHER AS REFERRALS OR THROUGH THE ELECTION PROCESS.
AND DURING THAT TIME, THE HOUSING SECTION OBTAINED
SETTLEMENTS TOTALING OVER $350,000 IN MONETARY RELIEF
FOR VICTIMS IN AFFECTED COMMUNITIES.
IN ALL WE OBTAINED 41 DISSENT DECREES OR FAVORABLE
JUDGMENTS IN FY204 AND I’M PROUD TO REPORT IN THE LAST
FIVE YEARS THE DIVISION HAS OBTAINED OVER $1.2 BILLION IN
RELIEF FOR INDIVIDUAL BORROWERS AND IMPACTED
COMMUNITIES FOR SETTLEMENTS THROUGH THE FHA, FCRA AND
EQUAL CREDIT OPPORTUNITY ACT. NO PARTNER IS MORE IMPORTANT
TO OUR FAIR HOUSING EFFORTS THAN THE DEPARTMENT OF
HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT.
NO PARTNER REFERS MORE FAIR HOUSING CASES AND PROVIDES
MORE SUPPORT FOR OUR ENFORCEMENT OF THE LAW.
AND OUR RELATIONSHIP TO HUD IS INTEGRAL IN FINDING,
INVESTIGATING, BRINGING AND RESOLVING SOME OF OUR MOST
IMPORTANT FAIR HOUSING SUITS. EVEN INDIVIDUAL CASES
REFERRED TO US THROUGH THE HUD ELECTION PROCESS CAN
BECOME LARGE PATENT OR PRACTICE SUITS THAT CAN HELP
TO SIGNIFICANTLY MOVE THE DIAL IN HOUSING.
I APPLAUD HUD’S EFFORTS TO ADVANCE FAIR HOUSING THROUGH
RULE MAKING. IN 2012, HUD ISSUED THE 28
LANDMARK EQUAL ACCESS RULE WHICH ENSURES THROUGH CORE
HOUSING AND LENDING PROGRAMS THAT THEY ARE OPEN TO ALL
ELIGIBLE PERSONS REGARDLESS OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION OR
GENDER IDENTITY. FINALLY I MUST CALL ATTENTION
TO THE PERMANENTLY FURTHERING FAIR HOUSING.
IT’S A VERY IMPORTANT WAY TO ENSURE THAT THE PROMISES OF
THE FAIR HOUSING ACT WILL CONTINUE TO BE FULFILLED BY
SEEKING TO INCREASE INTEGRATION, OVERCOME
HISTORIC PATTERNS OF SEGREGATION, REDUCE RACIAL
AND ETHNIC CONCENTRATION OF POVERTY, AND REDUCE ILLEGAL
DISPARITIES BY RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, SEX, FAMILIAL
STATUS, NATIONAL ORIGIN, OR DISABILITY.
SO LOOK, TOGETHER WE HAVE ACCOMPLISHED SO MUCH.
SO MUCH. BUT YOU AND I KNOW, ALL OF US
KNOW, WE HAVE MUCH, MUCH MORE WORK TO DO.
I LOOK FORWARD TO OUR CONTINUED PARTNERSHIP AND
COLLABORATION, TO IDENTIFY AND ROOT OUT BOTH NEW AND OLD
FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION. THROUGH OUR EFFORTS, WE CAN
ENSURE THAT FAIR HOUSING REMAINS A PRIORITY AND A PART
OF THE AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE, THAT ALL INDIVIDUALS WHO LIVE
IN THIS COUNTRY HAVE ACCESS TO HOUSING, FREE OF
DISCRIMINATION, AND THAT ALL COMMUNITIES ARE PROTECTED AND
SUPPORTED BY THE PROMISES OF THE FAIR HOUSING ACT.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>>>VANITA, I WANT TO THANK 29
YOU SO MUCH FOR THOSE REMARKS.
FIRST OF ALL, SO GREAT TO YOU HAVE HERE, BUT MORE
IMPORTANTLY, SO GREAT TO YOU HAVE AT THE DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE. THANK YOU.
>>[APPLAUSE]>>
>>AND I HOPE YOU WILL FORGIVE ME FOR SHARING YOUR
UNOFFICIAL BIO PUBLICLY! SO WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A
LITTLE SOMETHING FOR VANITA BEFORE WE CLOSE OUT, BUT I
WANT TO SHARE A FEW CLOSING REMARKS BEFORE WE GO ON OUR
WAY. IN PREPARING CLOSING REMARKS
FOR TODAY, IT OCCURRED TO ME THAT OUR THREE MAIN SPEAKERS
WERE ALL BORN AFTER THE PASSAGE OF THE FAIR HOUSING
ACT. AND I THINK THAT’S ALSO TRUE
OF THE SINGER, BRUCE, FROM FHEO, WHO DID A WONDERFUL
RENDITION OF THE “STAR SPANGLED BANNER” TODAY.
AND WHAT IT TELLS US IS THAT IN SO MANY PLACES TODAY, A
NEW GENERATION OF LEADERSHIP HAS TAKEN UP THE FAIR HOUSING
CHARGE. AS WE CELEBRATE THE 47TH
ANNIVERSARY OF THE FAIR HOUSING ACT, AND THIS YEAR,
THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF HUD, WE FIND OURSELVES IN A UNIQUE
PLACE, WHERE SEVERAL GENERATIONS OF CIVIL RIGHTS
ADVOCATES ARE WORKING SIDE BY SIDE TO REALIZE THE DREAMS
THAT DR. KING SO ELOQUENTLY ENVISIONED.
EACH BRINGS ITS PERSPECTIVE, ITS HISTORY, AND ITS WISDOM.
WE ALL KNOW THE MISTAKES OF OUR PAST, WHEN IT COMES TO 30
HOUSING POLICY, BUT TOGETHER, WE ARE CHARTING OUR FUTURE.
TOGETHER, WE ARE WORKING TO MAKE THE FAIR HOUSING ACT A
TRUE MEMORIAL TO DR. KING AND THE PRINCIPLES HE STOOD FOR.
AND I SHOULD ADD THAT THIS ROOM THAT WE ARE IN AND THE
LAW THAT WE CELEBRATE TODAY ARE ALSO LITERALLY MEMORIALS
TO SENATOR EDWARD BROOKE, TO WHOM WE ALL SAID GOODBYE THIS
PAST MONTH AT THE NATIONAL CATHEDRAL.
IN SPONSORING THE FAIR HOUSING ACT, ED BROOKE
RESORTED FEDERAL OFFICIALS NOT ONLY TO STAMP OUT
DISCRIMINATION BUT TO CEASE RUBBER STAMPING SEGREGATION.
THAT WAS THEN. THIS IS NOW.
TODAY OUR LEADERSHIP AT ALL LEVELS OF HUD, AT JUSTICE,
AND AMONG OUR PARTNERS NATIONWIDE ARE RIGHTING THE
COURSE. WE ARE BRINGING THE CASES, WE
ARE INVESTING THE DOLLARS TO MAKE ALL NEIGHBORHOODS SAFE,
LIVABLE AND OPEN TO PEOPLE OF ALL BACKGROUNDS.
WE CANNOT CHANGE HISTORY, BUT LET’S CONTINUE TO WORK
TOGETHER TO MAKE HUD’S NEXT 50 YEARS BRIGHTER SO
GENERATIONS WHO COME AFTER US WILL CELEBRATE THE WORK WE
DID TODAY. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
HAVE A HAPPY FAIR HOUSING MONTH!
>>[APPLAUSE]>>LOOK WHAT WE HAVE HERE!
WE WOULD LIKE TO END WITH PRESENTING A TOKEN OF OUR
APPRECIATION TO ACTING ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
VANITA GUPTA. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, VANITA. 31
>>[APPLAUSE]>>
>>THAT CONCLUDES OUR PROGRAM.
HAVE A GREAT FAIR HOUSING MONTH!
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>