HUD MAKES $5 MILLION AVAILABLE TO HELP COMMUNITIES BEGIN ‘GRASSROOTS’ PLAN FOR HOUSING, COMMUNITY REVITALIZATION

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced $5 million is being made available in Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grantsto help communities begin the comprehensive neighborhood planning process to transform, rehabilitate and preserve public housing and privately-owned HUD-assisted housing. Read HUD’s FY 2011 Choice Neighborhoods Notice of Funding Availability.

White House and HUD Highlight Denver Residents as "Champions of Change" and Leaders in Housing Counseling

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, March 1st in Los Angeles, California, the White House and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban development will honor Charlotte O’Donnell and Helen Taylor of Denver, as two of eleven housing counselors and HUD-approved organizations being recognized as Champions of Change for their hard work, perseverance and dedication to their communities. O’Donnell and Taylor and have been selected for outstanding commitment and achievement representative of their collective work of thousands of housing counselors across the United States.

Bank of America Charged with Discrimination

Consumer complaints have triggered
yet another legal problem for Bank of America. 
The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced on Monday that
it is charging the Bank with discriminating against disabled homebuyers under
provisions of the Fair Housing Act.

The charges arise out of allegations
from two borrowers in Michigan and one in Wisconsin who said they were required
to provide personal medical information and documentation regarding their
disability and proof of the continuance of the Social Security payments in
order to qualify for a home mortgage loan. 
HUD alleges that Bank of America first denied the loans to the borrowers
who relied on disability income to qualify for their home loans.  The Bank then imposed unnecessary and
burdensome requirements as evidence of the continuation of Social Security
income including provision of physician’s statements to reevaluate and approve
the loans

HUD’s charge is based on a
“Secretary-initiated investigation” and is also being issued as part of the
work by the Federal Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’s non-discrimination
working group.  The matter will now be handled by the Department of
Justice.

The Fair Housing Act makes it
illegal to discriminate in the terms and conditions of a loan to an individual
based on a disability, including imposing different application of
qualification criteria.  The Act also
makes it illegal to inquire about the nature or severity of a disability except
in limited circumstances which HUD said did not apply in these cases.

 ”Holding homebuyers with
disabilities to a higher standard just because they rely on disability payments
as a source of income is against the law,” said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant
Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.  “Mortgage companies may
verify income and have eligibility standards but they may not single out
homebuyers with disabilities to delay or deny financing when they are otherwise
eligible.”

This is just the latest legal tangle
for Bank of America which is involved in numerous suits from both government
agencies and individual homeowners arising out of its assumption of Countrywide
Mortgage Corporation in 2008.  Along with
four other major lenders it recently settled a suit with federal and state
authorities for a reported $25 billion and that same week reached a $1 billion settlement
with FHA over past lending practices.

 

…(read more)

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HUD LAUNCHES PUBLIC DATABASE OF HUD-ASSISTED HOUSEHOLDS

WASHINGTON – In another effort to advance the Obama Administration’s Open Government Initiative, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today launched a public database to help the research community better understand the characteristics of households receiving assistance under the Department’s main rental programs. Read more about HUD’s new public data sample.

HUD CHARGES BANK OF AMERICA WITH DISCRIMINATING AGAINST HOMEBUYERS WITH DISABILITIES

WASHINGTON–The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced that it is charging Bank of America with discriminating against homebuyers with disabilities. HUD alleges that Bank of America imposed unnecessary and burdensome requirements on borrowers who relied on disability income to qualify for their home loans and required some disabled borrowers to provide physician statements to qualify for home mortgage loans.