FHCCI News and Updates

July 26, 2021 – Low Home Appraisal? What to Do if You Suspect Discrimination: The media reports about alleged appraisal discrimination have raised concerns across government, the real estate industry and fair housing groups. “When a home receives an under-appraisal, it has a domino effect on the homeowner and on the surrounding community,” CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio said at the roundtable. “The homeowner will have more difficulty securing favorable mortgage rates for refinancing. The household suffers a significant loss in net worth, and the neighborhood comparables are lower, and on and on.” Full story here.

July 25, 2021 – Last Week Tonight with John Oliver highlights housing discrimination: John Oliver breaks down the long history of housing discrimination in the U.S., the damage it’s done, and, crucially, what we can do about it. Watch the video here.

July 1, 2021 – Groups Urge Indiana to Expunge Evictions Filed During Pandemic: Groups advocating for affordable housing warn that once the federal moratorium on evictions ends, thousands of Hoosiers will be at risk to lose their homes. The Biden administration has extended the moratorium through July 31, but said it would be the last extension. The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana’s Director, Amy Nelson, said many residents who have been protected by it soon will face eviction proceedings – especially those who haven’t received enough in rental assistance to pay back-rent and utility costs. Full story here.

June 27, 2021 – Concerns Linger Even After Final Extension Of CDC’s Eviction Moratorium: The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recently made one last extension to the nationwide eviction moratorium. There were fears of an “eviction cliff” as the moratorium was set to end after June 30. It will now end July 31. Full story here.

June 25, 2021 – EXPLAINER: How Indiana evictions could surge post-moratorium: A federal freeze on most evictions that was enacted last year is scheduled to expire July 31, after the Biden administration extended the date by a month. The moratorium, put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September, has been the only tool keeping millions of tenants in their homes. Many of them lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic and have fallen months behind on their rent. Full story here.

June 24, 2021 – Federal eviction, foreclosure moratorium could cause increase in COVID-19, homelessness: Since March 15, 2020, Indiana has had 47,087 eviction filings, even with two eviction moratoria, according to Eviction Lab. Starting in July, following the end of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) federal eviction moratorium, Indiana experts and social workers expect that number to spike. Since the pandemic began, Indiana has had two eviction moratoria: a state one from March 19, 2020, to Aug. 14, 2020, and the federal eviction moratorium that started in September 2020 and will end June 30. Full story here.

June 22, 2021 -Lawmakers and experts address concerns of Hoosiers facing possible eviction: The U.S. is returning to pre-COVID-19 times, and so programs that supported Hoosiers against unemployment, evictions and more are soon to ease.  Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, and Judge Garland Graves of Warren Township Small Claims Court, hosted a panel for state and local experts on Tuesday to talk about the June 30 expiration of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eviction moratorium. Full story here.

June 22, 2021 – Housing officials, advocates talk next steps week before national eviction moratorium ends: With the end of the national eviction moratorium just about a week away, state officials are working to reach more people who could be at risk of losing their homes. The Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority still has $300 million in federal funding available for rental and utility assistance, according to Jacob Sipe, executive director. Full story here.

June 21, 2021 – FHCCI Announces Settlement that Advances Access for Persons with Disabilities: Today, the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) announces a fair housing settlement with Elwood Real Equities, Inc., Construction Management & Design, Inc., Alan R. Collins, Chris L. Collins, Property Management & Maintenance, LLC, J.S.L. LLC, J.S.L. & Associates, David Wells, and James Lenczowski (collectively “Respondents”) to expand access to persons with disabilities in 14 apartment complexes located across Central and Northern Indiana. Read the full press release here. More information is on the FHCCI Advocacy Page

June 17, 2021 – ‘For Rent’: These are your rights as a renter in Indianapolis: The rights of Indianapolis renters have been a major topic of discussion among politicians, tenants and landlords alike over the last year. From proposed legislation to governor vetoes to an override of said veto, there’s a lot to catch up on regarding Indiana tenant laws. Read full story here.

June 17, 2021 – White House Issues Statement on Exclusionary Zoning: Its Effect on Racial Discrimination in the Housing Market: Noting: One area that is particularly important for economic well-being and wealth accumulation is housing. Families who can purchase their own home in the neighborhood of their choice at a fair price and see the value of their home grow over time do better economically in the long run. But numerous policies have systemically discriminated against Black families who wish to pursue that path. This blog focuses on one of these policies: exclusionary zoning laws, which have played a role in causing racial disparities in the housing market. Read full statement here.

June 9, 2021 – Some People With FHA Loans Being Shut Out Of Housing Market: One of the hottest housing markets in recent years is shutting out some people using federal housing loans. When would-be homebuyer Shay Morris qualified for a Federal Housing Administration insured loan earlier this year and began her home search, she quickly found out how difficult it would be. Read the story here.

June 8, 2021 – ‘Unprecedented’ Indiana housing market leads to concern over FHA buyers being pushed out: In a housing market with high demand and the lowest inventory in almost 15 years, fair housing experts expressed worry that some buyers’ loan type is keeping them from competing for homes. Shay Morris, 31, wanted to buy her first home, so she obtained pre-approval for a federally-backed FHA loan and started putting in offers earlier this year. The loans, which are used by more than one in five Hoosier homebuyers, typically require less money down and lower credit scores than conventional loans. Read the full story here.

June 4, 2021 – Your summer guide to the Indiana housing market, from tips for buyers to new projects: Buying a new home in 2021 can be stressful, overwhelming — and ultimately joyful. Over the past year, IndyStar has chronicled the market activity to help you understand and navigate the homebuying process. Read the full story here.

June 2, 2021 – FHCCI Appears on Fox Soul’s The Tammi Mac Late Show: Tammi and her guests discuss racial disparities in home appreciation. Topics include discrimination in housing and solutions to break the cycle of discrimination in housing. Plus, a lot more! Watch here.

June 1, 2021 – Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Actions to Build Black Wealth and Narrow the Racial Wealth Gap: Today, on the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new steps to help narrow the racial wealth gap and reinvest in communities that have been left behind by failed policies. Specifically, the Administration is expanding access to two key wealth-creators – homeownership and small business ownership – in communities of color and disadvantaged communities. Read the full fact sheet here.

May 21, 2021 – A Black Woman Says She Had To Hide Her Race To Get A Fair Home Appraisal: The FHCCI and client appear on NPR/WFYI to discuss issues of alleged bias in the lending and appraisal industry. Listen/read this story here.

May 19, 2021 – Black Indianapolis owner’s home value more than doubles after concealing race: One Black Indianapolis homeowner shares her experience with racism in real estate after her home value more than doubles when a white man stands in for her during a home appraisal. Watch this NBC News NOW story here.

May 19, 2021 – When a Black homeowner concealed her race, her home’s appraisal value doubled: The FHCCI and client appear on CNN to discuss the recent filing alleging discrimination in the lending and appraisal process. Watch here.

May 10, 2020 – FHCCI Appears on Fox Soul’s Isiah Factor Uncensored: A woman in Indianapolis, Indiana, is filing a discrimination lawsuit after her home was appraised for more than $100,000 more after she got rid of anything that identified her blackness and had a white man stand in for her during the appraisal. Our panel talks about what needs to be done to dismantle systemic racism in the appraisal and real estate industries. Watch here.

May 10, 2020 – New Indiana law addresses discriminatory language written into old home deeds: A new Indiana law set to take effect in July will take aim at racist language in home deeds. Though no longer enforceable, many homes still have it written that Black people and other minorities can’t live in certain communities. The language in communities that have restricted covenants is very clear, outlining only white people would be allowed to live in the community. Household servants were the exception. Read the full story here.

May 4, 2021 – FHCCI Announces HUD Complaints Alleging Discrimination in Home Appraisals: Today, the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) and Carlette Duffy announce the filing of fair housing complaints with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) alleging housing discrimination due to race and color in the appraisal and lending process. Ms. Duffy and the FHCCI allege in the HUD complaints that the Respondents have violated fair housing laws by allowing race and color to impact their appraisals and/or lending practices. As part of these filings, HUD will conduct an investigation to determine any violations of law. To learn more:

April 21, 2021 – Indy Releases Plan to Tackle Housing Challenges: The city of Indianapolis has released a new plan that aims to address key housing issues. The city says the Anti-Displacement and Inclusive Growth Policy Agenda identifies four priority housing issues and makes 11 policy recommendations to address the issues. Read the story here. Download the full report here.

April 20, 2021 – FHCCI Releases Second Video for Fair Housing Month: As part of its Fair Housing Month activities, the FHCCI has released a video about Reverse Redlining. This video explains what has come to be known as reverse redlining and how such practices may violate fair housing laws. You may watch the video here

April 20, 2021 – Housing Insecurity Podcast Launches: The Community Health Network hosts its podcast this month on Housing Insecurity. Amy Nelson, Executive Director, Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana and Marshawn Wolley, Public Policy Director, African American Coalition of Indianapolis join us in the studio for a discussion on housing insecurity in Indianapolis. Learn about the historical decisions that have impacted inequality in Indianapolis and also how housing directly affects health in some obvious, and not-so-obvious, ways. Listen to the podcast here.

April 9, 2021 – WFYI All-IN Evictions and Fair Housing: Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Indiana was ranked #2 in the country in the number of evictions. Are things getting better or worse? Join this episode of All-IN to find out if any progress has been made to ensure greater access to housing and resources in Indiana, and what options are out there for Hoosiers if they aren’t able to pay their rent during the pandemic. Listen to the episode here.

April 8, 2021 – FHCCI Releases New Fair Housing Video: Today, at its 9th Annual Fair Housing Conference, the FHCCI released A History of Real Estate Sales Discrimination in Indianapolis to expand knowledge about the systemic policies and practices that are still impacting our neighborhoods. This video also highlights why we continue to have a racial homeownership gap. You may watch the video here.

April 7, 2021 – Fair Housing Center Opens Fair Housing Month with Annual Conference, Videos, and Event: Each year, April is celebrated across the country as Fair Housing Month to honor the passage of the federal Fair Housing Act in April 1968. This year, the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) has a month of targeted activities in celebration and recognition of fair housing. Read the full press release here.

April 1, 2021 – Fair Housing Complaint Filed Alleging Familial Status Discrimination:  Today, the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI), along with a former Hoosier family, announces a federal lawsuit against LaPorte Lake Properties LLC and Coolspring Estates Apartments in Michigan City, Indiana, alleging violations of fair housing and other laws against families with children. Read the full press release here. You may download a copy of the filed complaint here.

March 31, 2021 – ‘The walls were closing in’: How Indianapolis spent money to try to curb COVID fallout: About 9,266 tenants who applied for rental assistance did not receive aid either because their landlord did not want to participate in the program or didn’t respond, according to the city. Read the full story here.

February 19, 2021 – What Indianapolis apartment, house renters need to know about Indiana landlord-tenant bill: The Indiana Apartment Association, which has given about $1 million to Indiana Republican campaigns, agreed with the added language. “We could absolutely be letting off a bomb here. We don’t know what (SEA) 148 is going to do,” said Amy Nelson, executive director of Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana. Full story here.

February 18, 2021 – ‘We have a housing crisis’: Panels dissect housing in Indianapolis: Leadership Indianapolis hosted a series of virtual panels throughout February to discuss the housing situation in Indianapolis and try to find solutions. Housing can be an intimidating subject because of its complexity, but policy experts, housing professionals and organizers attempted to lift the veil for viewers over the course of three sessions, each dedicated to a different aspect of housing. Full story here.

February 17, 2021 – House overrides Gov. Holcomb’s veto of landlord-tenant bill: While much of the attention has been focused on Indianapolis, the bill will have a wider impact on the abilities of cities throughout the state to regulate landlords. “We could absolutely be letting off a bomb here,” said Amy Nelson, executive director of Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana. “We don’t know what (SEA) 148 is going to do.” Full story here.

February 17, 2021 – Lawmakers Override Holcomb’s Tenant/Landlord Veto: Fair Housing of Central Indiana Executive Director Amy Nelson said it will stop requirements that landlords disclose tenant rights. “What is so wrong with tenants knowing what their rights are, to be educated about the rights that they have as a renter, what is so scary about that,” Nelson asked. Full story here.

February 17, 2021 – Indiana lawmakers override 2020 veto, block cities from regulating landlord-tenant disputes: The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana opposed the veto override. “SEA 148 certainly lays out parameters. It says that localities cannot have any control or oversight over things like how a landlord sets up their lease, how much they charge on rent, deposits, what time of screening requirements there are. Those are all specifically defined. But it also has a catch-all where it says in any other aspect of the landlord-tenant relationship. So where questions have been raised is does that include things like code enforcement? Does that include things like human rights or human relations ordinances and other items such as that? We don’t know the extent that this ordinance will impact our renters. We certainly know that based upon what we’re seeing in Indianapolis, is that tenants needed more fairness.” Amy Nelson the Executive Director of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana explained Wednesday. Full story here.

February 15, 2021 – Indiana General Assembly Poised to Leave Hoosier Renters Out in the Cold: This week, the Indiana General Assembly will be taking action on several housing bills impacting landlord-tenant laws. The bills overwhelmingly support landlord rights leaving Hoosier renters out in the cold. As early as today, the Indiana House may vote on an override of SEA 148, which takes all local control of the landlord-tenant relationship away from Hoosier cities. Like in previous years, the Indiana General Assembly appears only willing to pass substantial legislation if it favors the ever demanding housing industry. Read full release here.

February 9, 2021 – FHCCI Releases NEW Two-Sided Poster: The FHCCI partnered with the talented Alyse Ruriani, MAATC to create a new work of #fairhousing art to remind us all of the important work that must be done to ensure equal housing for ALL Hoosiers. Order your FREE poster now: https://lnkd.in/gQghwQ8 (While supplies last, must be to Indiana address.)

February 8, 2021 – Indiana Senate overrides veto on Indianapolis landlord-tenant bill: The Indiana Senate voted Monday to override Gov. Eric Holcomb’s veto of a 2020 bill that would prohibit Indianapolis from regulating relationships between tenants and landlords. The bill would halt an Indianapolis initiative that has cracked down on a handful of landlords in its first year. It’s the first time since Holcomb, a Republican, took office four years ago that either chamber in the Republican-controlled legislative branch has voted to override one of his vetoes, signaling a break within the party. Only eight Republican Senators joined with all Democrats to vote against overriding Holcomb’s veto. Full story here. Related Press:

February 5, 2021 – Indiana General Assembly Initiates Anti-Tenant Week with Series of Bad Bills: In a late Friday news dump, the Indiana General Assembly posted its Monday schedule which includes a SEA 148 veto override after earlier in the day adding HB 1541, a similar bill, to the House Judiciary schedule. Another harmful bill, SB 158, is expected to also get a hearing next week. Governor Holcomb had vetoed SEA 148 after the 2020 General Assembly stating that the bill’s language was overly broad by preempting local governments from regulating any aspect of the landlord-tenant relationship. Should SEA 148 be overridden, it would go into effect immediately, despite a health pandemic, in the cold of winter, and during an eviction housing crisis. Read the full release here.

January 26, 2021 – ‘Fairly simple bill’ provides way to reject discriminatory land title restrictive covenants: Although covenants barring people of certain races, ethnicities and religions from owning property are no longer enforceable, they are still attached to many deeds and mortgages throughout Indiana. A bill introduced in the Indiana General Assembly and passed unanimously by the House Judiciary Committee Monday would allow for a notice to be attached rejecting those covenants. Under House Bill 1314, a person who discovers a “recorded discriminatory restrictive covenant” can include a statement with the property document that the “covenant is invalid and unenforceable.” Read the full story here.

January 26, 2021 – Memorandum on Redressing Our Nation’s and the Federal Government’s History of Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies: President Biden has issued an Executive Order which noted, “The Federal Government has a critical role to play in overcoming and redressing this history of discrimination and in protecting against other forms of discrimination by applying and enforcing Federal civil rights and fair housing laws.” Read the full order here.

January 21, 2021 – Fair housing complaint against Indy woman, HOA, property manager to move forward: A federal court on Wednesday ruled a lawsuit can move forward against an Indianapolis woman, a property management company and a homeowners association. Vicki New, Kirkpatrick Management and Twin Creeks Homeowners Association have been accused of participating in a pattern and practice of “harassing, taunting, and threatening African American and Latino residents, guests, and contractors,” according to a press release from the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI). View the full story here.

January 21, 2021 – Family can pursue discrimination lawsuit against HOA: An African American family who claims to have been subjected to race-based harassment, taunts and threats from a neighbor in their Indianapolis subdivision can move forward with their lawsuit after a federal judge denied the homeowners association’s request to toss the case. Read the full story here.

January 21, 2021 – LGBTQ protection included in President Biden’s executive orders: President Joe Biden is making moves to combat discrimination against the LGBTQ community. He has signed an executive order to get it done, but advocates said local officials need to feel added pressure. Housing experts said Biden’s executive order won’t unilateral make changes immediately. Discrimination continues to be a problem for people in the LGBTQ community, particularly when it relates to housing security. LGBTQ Americans make up a large percentage of the homeless population. View the full story here.

January 21, 2021 – Court Issues Rulings on Fair Housing Complaint: On January 20, 2021, a federal court ruled in separate motions for a fair housing complaint to proceed against all named defendants. In the case, Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana/Banks v. New/Kirkpatrick Management/Twin Creeks Homeowners Association, the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) and an Indianapolis resident alleged a pattern and practice of harassing, taunting, and threatening African American and Latino residents, guests, and contractors and creating a racially hostile environment in the Indianapolis subdivision of Twin Creeks. The FHCCI and a former resident of Twin Creeks allege that Vicki New, also a former resident, engaged in a campaign of harassment based on race and national origin for more than two years, and that Kirkpatrick Management and Twin Creeks Homeowners Association had the power to take strong action to correct or stop her conduct and failed to do so. Read the full press release here. The court rulings may be downloaded here and here

January 20, 2021 – Memorandum on On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government: President Biden has issued an Executive Order which noted, “The Federal Government’s goal in advancing equity is to provide everyone with the opportunity to reach their full potential.  Consistent with these aims, each agency must assess whether, and to what extent, its programs and policies perpetuate systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits for people of color and other underserved groups.  Such assessments will better equip agencies to develop policies and programs that deliver resources and benefits equitably to all.” Read the full order here.

January 20, 2021 – Memorandum on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation: President Biden has issued an Executive Order which noted, “It is the policy of my Administration to prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, and to fully enforce Title VII and other laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.  It is also the policy of my Administration to address overlapping forms of discrimination.” Read the full order here.

January 8, 2021 – Editorial: Holcomb got it right, so let his veto stand: It was nearly one year ago, during the 2020 session of the Indiana General Assembly, that we urged state lawmakers to reject a bill designed to prohibit local governments from regulating landlord-tenant relations without state authorization. At issue was a tenants-rights ordinance passed in February by the Indianapolis City-County Council and approved by Mayor Joe Hogsett as part of an effort to cut down on evictions. The initiative doesn’t prohibit landlords from evicting tenants, but it does levy fines against landlords who evict tenants in a retaliatory fashion—should they report unsatisfactory living conditions to authorities, for example. But lawmakers didn’t like it. And so, on the last day of the 2020 session, they passed a bill to prevent the city of Indianapolis—and any other cities, towns or counties in Indiana—from creating their own rules for landlord-tenant relations. It was the kind of move that is especially disappointing from Republicans, who espouse local control when it suits them and howl when the federal government tells states what they can and can’t do. Read full Editorial here.

January 5, 2021 – Potential for veto override of housing bill stirs call to action: Fears of an attempt to override Gov. Eric Holcomb’s March 2020 veto of a housing bill is spurring housing advocates to publicly call on the Indiana Legislature to not resurrect SEA 148, particularly when many Hoosiers are continuing to struggle under economic stress brought by the COVID-19 public health crisis. Members of the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition and other nonprofits said an override could only exacerbate the state’s problems with evictions and housing instability. Allowing Senate Enrolled Act 148 to become law, they said, would increase evictions, create more homelessness and adversely impact the physical and mental health of children and adults. More broadly, it would hamper the state and local economic recovery from the pandemic-induced downturn. Full story here.

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2020 News Stories
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