Housing and lending discrimination are painful, stubborn realities for people of color in the United States. It takes many forms, including discrimination in the sale and rental of housing; in creating zoning and other land use barriers that discriminate — especially in blocking efforts to develop affordable housing — in a manner that perpetuates residential segregation and exacerbates economic, political and educational disparities; in the failure to provide equal municipal services to minority communities; in lending practices which discriminatorily deny financing to minorities seeking to purchase a home; and in other lending practices which “redline” minority areas as ineligible for lending, or, more recently, in “reverse redlining” practices which target minority neighborhoods for predatory, high interest loans that lead to disproportionate default and foreclosure rates in the minority community and neighborhoods devastated by the blight caused by vacant and abandoned properties.
In an effort to overcome these and other problems, the Fair Housing & Fair Lending Project litigates lawsuits under the Fair Housing Act and related statutes to challenge discrimination in the private real estate market, discriminatory zoning practices of local governments and discriminatory lending practices. Litigation includes representation of plaintiffs and participation as amicus curiae(“friend of the court”) in cases which raise important fair housing and fair lending issues. Our work has resulted in millions of dollars in relief for our fair housing clients and for communities across the country. We respond to citizen complaints and while we normally do not initiate cases on behalf of individuals, we will take action where complaints reveal systemic discrimination or raise a matter of general public importance. We also work closely with fair housing organizations, our local affiliates around the country, and with local private attorneys to initiate fair housing and fair lending cases.
In 2009, the Lawyers’ Committee’s Fair Housing & Fair Lending Project and Legal Mobilization Project led the formation and launch of the Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network (“LMSPN”) to engage the Lawyers’ Committee and partners in the fight against foreclosure rescue scams. The LMSPN is made up of a broad coalition of governmental agencies, non-profits, and financial institutions and is engaged in a wide variety of activities to combat such scams. These activities are described on the LMSPN website, www.preventloanscams.org. A central goal of the program is to support federal, state and local government enforcement activities against foreclosure rescue fraud scams. In addition, as part of this enforcement arm of the program, the Lawyers’ Committee, in conjunction with its pro bono network, has initiated a significant litigation program. For details on the cases that the Lawyers’ Committee has brought so far, please view the links below.
- Garden City
- Port of Gulfport Expansion
- St. Bernard Parish
- Rush v. Save My Home
- Osmanzai v. Save My Home
- Mook v. Homesafe
- Ocegueda v. Nathanson
- Viera v. Bella Homes LLC
- Masheyeva v. Law Offices of David M. Green
- Squassoni v. Blackwell
- Aviles v. Norton Law Group
- Cox v. Certified Financial Protection Group
- Williams v. Premiere Loan Services, Inc.
- Culliver v. Alarcon Law Group
- Bates v. Goodrich, Attorney Inc.
- Sampson v. All American Home Assistance Services, Inc.
- Baker v. Platinum Law Group
- Port Wentworth
- Pitt v. City of Portsmouth, Va
- King v. City of Blakely Housing Authority