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Foreclosed homes in non-white areas get fewer repairs, complaint says
     (BALTIMORE, July 23, 2014) -- A national housing advocacy group looking at vacant foreclosed homes being maintained by Fannie Mae contractor Cyprexx Services LLC say there are stark and systematic differences, comparing the company’s performance in white vs. non-white neighborhoods.
     “You rarely see a boarded-up window in a white neighborhood,” said Shanna L. Smith, of National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), which has filed a four-state complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development against Florida-based Cyprexx. The properties may be vacant, she said, but they are well-kept.
     By contrast, in non-white areas, the group found not only boarded windows but weeds, dead shrubs and tall grass, unsecured doors, broken steps and railings, holes, vermin and piles of trash. The trend was most pronounced in Baltimore, although the group also looked at Kansas City, Orlando, Fla., and Richmond, Va. FULL STORY at baltimorebrew.com

U.S. Homeownership riskier for many African-Americans, says Rice study -
     (MIAMI, Fla., July 23, 2014) -- Based on a new study from sociologists at Rice University and Cornell University found that while historical barriers that excluded Black America from the homeowner market for decades have crumbled, there are new signs that emerging types of racial inequality are making homeownership an increasingly risky investment for African-American home seekers.
     The reason: African-Americans are now 45 percent more likely than whites to switch from owning their homes to renting them.
     The study, "Emerging Forms of Racial Inequality in Homeownership Exit, 1968-2009," examines racial inequality in transitions out of homeownership over the last four decades. The authors used longitudinal household data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics for the period 1968 to 2009, with a study sample of 6,994 non-Hispanic whites and 3,158 black homeowners. FULL STORY at worldpropertychannel.com

Section 8 experiment under review
     (LOUISVILLE, Ky., July 22, 2014) -- The Louisville Metro Housing Authority is reevaluating a plan that would implement a $75 monthly rent for randomly selected Section 8 participants after housing advocates called the proposed study unfair.
     The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development asked the housing authority to participate in the study, which is designed to stretch public housing dollars and encourage more household heads to get jobs.
     Families who take part in the study wouldn't be at risk of a rent increase for three years, even if their pay increased.
     But the experiment is being criticized for randomly selecting the participants, who wouldn't get a chance to opt out unless they can demonstrate a hardship. FULL STORY at courier-journal.com

Low-income homes, homeless programs in Knoxville get $768K in funding
     (KNOXVILLE, Tenn., July 22, 2014) -- The Knoxville City Council approved six contracts Tuesday night with various local agencies to provide services for low-income residents and the homeless.
     Those agreements totaled $768,805 with more than half of that amount coming from federal grant dollars. All of those agreements were budgeted by Mayor Madeline Rogero and will not increase the city’s current spending plan, said Becky Wade, director of the Community Development Department.
     “This is funding part of the plan to address homelessness in Knoxville, which was presented some time ago and we talked about,” City Councilman Finbarr Saunders said.
     For the homeless, the Volunteer Ministry Center, Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee and Knoxville’s Community Development Corp. will sign two agreements totaling $242,500 for case management services. FULL STORY at knoxnews.com

Village says veteran's therapy ducks aren't allowed
     (WEST LAFAYETTE, Ohio, July 19, 2014) -- Darin Welker is facing a citation and a hearing in Coshocton Municipal Court for owning 14 ducks, as they are in violation of a village ordinance.
     Welker, who lives on Grandview Street in West Lafayette, was cited June 23 with a minor misdemeanor. He said he uses the ducks for therapy after being wounded in 2005 in Iraq and should be allowed to keep them.
     Welker said he has a letter from the Mental Health Department of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs recommending he keep the ducks.
     “I came back (from Iraq) with a major back injury, and between the back injury and the (post-traumatic stress disorder) that I also brought home, there were numerous problems,” Welker said. FULL STORY at coshoctontribune.com

Cherry Hill fair-housing group sues over rule change
     (CHERRY HILL, N.J., July 16, 2014) -- A Cherry Hill-based advocacy group has sued the state, seeking an explanation for behind-the-scenes changes to affordable-housing rules.
     According to Fair Share Housing Center, the state Council on Affordable Housing voted for new housing rules April 30. But written rules prepared for public comment June 2 "differed substantially, most notably eliminating requirements for 37,000 homes affordable to low- and moderate-income people," the nonprofit said.
     Fair Share wants a court order requiring Gov. Chris Christie's administration to release emails showing how the changes were made and identifying officials involved in that process.
     "To make major changes to laws behind closed doors after a public meeting and public vote is unprecedented," Adam Gordon, a Fair Share attorney, said in a statement Tuesday. "The public has a right to know who ordered the changes, and how, and yet the Christie Administration refuses to say what happened." FULL STORY at courierpostonline.com

Protesters gather outside Louisville Metro Housing Authority
     (LOUISVILLE, Ky., July 15, 2014) -- Bound and gagged women protested the Louisville Metro Housing Authority on Tuesday afternoon.
     Protesters said the Section Eight Housing recipients, most of them African American women, should not be forced to be part of a federal housing experiment.

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