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Huge victory in the fight against housing discrimination
Friday, June 26, 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that even if housing discrimination was unintended it is still illegal.
In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that evidence can be used to prove that lenders or insurers are discriminating against a group of people – even if they did not intend to.
This concept is called “disparate impact”. Civil rights groups use this tool to expose hidden prejudices in housing and zoning practices.
Lawsuits arguing “disparate impact” are brought under the federal Fair Housing Act which makes it illegal to refuse to sell (or rent) a property base on race, religion, national original, sex or disabilities.
In response to the ruling, Consumer Action’s colleagues at the non-profit National Fair Housing Alliance said, “Families can now feel more comfortable knowing that their right to housing will not be restricted because they have children, women who experience domestic violence can breathe easier knowing that they will not suffer eviction just because they suffered abuse, and communities of color can live with the security of knowing that the predatory lending practices that dumped millions of subprime loans into their neighborhoods will not be allowed.”
Consumer Action has been a champion of underrepresented consumers nationwide since 1971. A non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, Consumer Action focuses on consumer education that empowers low- and moderate-income and limited-English-speaking consumers to financially prosper. It also advocates for consumers in the media and before lawmakers to advance consumer rights and promote industry-wide change.
By providing consumer education materials in multiple languages, a free national hotline, a comprehensive website (www.consumer-action.org) and annual surveys of financial and consumer services, Consumer Action helps consumers assert their rights in the marketplace and make financially savvy choices. Nearly 7,500 community and grassroots organizations benefit annually from its extensive outreach programs, training materials and support.
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