HUD TO FIGHT DISCRIMINATION, BOOST MINORITY HOMEOWNERSHIP
WASHINGTON - The Clinton Administration is committed to
fighting illegal housing discrimination and to giving more
minorities opportunities to become homeowners, Housing Secretary
Andrew Cuomo told the National Urban League Annual Conference
today. At the same time, he signed an agreement to work with the
Urban League to further those goals.
WORK WITH URBAN LEAGUE TO FURTHER GOALS
Cuomo spoke a day after banking regulators issued a report
that found that conventional and government-backed home mortgages
to all racial and ethnic groups rose in 1996.
However, the report found that blacks, Hispanics and
American Indians were still more likely than whites and Asians to
be turned down for conventional home mortgages.
The report said in 1996 lenders turned down 48.8 percent of
applications for conventional home mortgages by African
Americans, compared with only 24.1 percent for whites. The denial
rates were 34.4 percent for Hispanics, 13.8 percent for Asians,
and 50.2 percent for American Indians.
Still, the disparity in mortgage denial rates for blacks and
whites has narrowed since 1990. In that year, blacks were 2.4
times as likely as whites to have their application denied.
Today, blacks are 2 times as likely to have their mortgage
"We are proud that minority homeownership is rising and that
more Americans of all races are applying and qualifying for home
mortgages," Cuomo said. "But more must be done to stop
discrimination in its tracks. We will double the number of fair
housing complaints we investigate and we will be diligent in our
enforcement of laws and regulations to ensure that the American
Dream of homeownership is open to all hard-working Americans."
Cuomo said a top goal of HUD will be to reduce the
homeownership gap between whites and minorities. While the white
homeownership rate stood at 72.1 percent in the second quarter of
this year, the homeownership rate was 44.9 percent for blacks and
43.3 percent for Hispanics.
To advance HUD's efforts, Cuomo said the Department of
Housing and Urban Development will provide technical assistance
valued at up to $1 million to the National Urban League and its
114 affiliates over two years.
The HUD assistance will help the group increase minority
homeownership, create more affordable housing, combat housing
discrimination, create jobs and take other actions to revitalize
inner city neighborhoods, Cuomo said.
Cuomo signed a memorandum of understanding with Urban League
President Hugh Price to provide the technical assistance.
Under the agreement, HUD will work with local Urban League
affiliates to identify ways to wipe out housing discrimination.
All cases of housing discrimination discovered by Urban League
affiliates will be referred to the Department for immediate
Cuomo said the assistance will help the National Urban
League and its affiliates better utilize available HUD resources
and programs, such as the Department's Community Development
Block Grant Program.
"The Urban League is a powerful force for good, and has an
extraordinary record of achievement," Cuomo said. "By working in
partnership with this group, HUD can create new housing
opportunities and new jobs, and bring new life to urban
"We're extremely excited about the creation of this
partnership with HUD," Price said. "This agreement will enable us
to do even more to serve the needs of communities that are
undergoing tremendous change and becoming ever more diverse."
Despite the disappointing news about the high mortgage
denial rate for minorities, the data revealed a number of
encouraging trends, Cuomo said. For example:
- In 1996, the number of blacks owning their own homes
exceeded 5 million for the first time.
- There has been substantial growth in total mortgage
lending activity since 1993. The fastest growth in mortgage
lending has occurred for minorities: 56 percent for Hispanics,
53 percent for blacks, 27 percent for Native Americans, 15
percent for Asians and 14 percent for whites.
- While the number of conventional loans to blacks decreased
by 1.5 percent between 1995 and 1996, this decline was more than
offset by an increase in government-backed loans.
Today the overall homeownership rate in the United States is
65.7 percent -- the highest overall quarterly homeownership rate
in 17 years. There are more than 5 million more homeowners since
the start of 1993.
Under the agreement between HUD and the Urban League,
Neighborhood Network Centers will be established in Baltimore,
Washington, and Kansas City, MO. The Neighborhoods Network
program, created in September 1995, is a HUD initiative that uses
computer technology to help residents of HUD-insured and assisted
housing developments get training to qualify for jobs. Currently
there are more than 220 Neighborhood Networks centers operating.
Another goal of HUD's assistance to the Urban League will be
to help people move from welfare to work. Activities that could
be assisted include job training, child care and transportation
The agreement also calls for HUD to help Urban League
affiliates fully engage in the JOBS Plus Demonstration Program,
an effort that uses existing local structures to strengthen the
ability of communities to support and promote activities leading
to the creation of new jobs.
In addition, the agreement calls for HUD to assist Urban
League affiliates in working with local housing authorities to
develop job training courses for low-income residents and
contracting opportunities for businesses that are owned by or
employ public housing residents.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009