Postings

Advocates tackle data-driven discrimination
Big Data has the potential to create racial and social inequalities, and make existing discrimination even worse. While civil rights protections have existed in brick-and-mortar commerce for decades, they are largely missing from the internet economy. Online services should not be permitted to use consumer data to discriminate against protected classes or deny them opportunities in commerce, housing, employment, or full participation in our democracy.

How the government shutdown puts working families at risk
As the longest federal government shutdown in our nation’s history drags on, advocates raised concern as to how working families could potentially be harmed long after the government reopens its doors. Without a paycheck, federal employees fear losing their homes, consider risky financial loans in lieu of income, tax credits and refunds, and worry about the lasting impact that missed bill payments will have on their credit.

Advocates warn that HUD’s disaster relief program is too limited in scope
In an official letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), advocates urge HUD to improve its efforts to expedite the process for borrowers in disaster areas to access loss mitigation. While a good start, The Disaster Standalone Partial Claim program does not do enough for borrowers in disaster areas that have not yet fully recovered, and the program includes vague and unnecessary eligibility requirements that will impose unnecessary barriers to mortgage relief.

The CFPB’s consumer education programs must be protected
In open comments to the agency, advocates urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to keep its education programs, just one component in its set of consumer protection tools. Other Bureau responsibilities, including its enforcement and rulemaking authority, should also be utilized to fully protect consumers in accordance with the CFPB’s mission.

FHFA announces major upgrades to mortgage application process for LEP borrowers
Consumer Action joined advocates in applauding the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) in its efforts to improve its affordable housing goals and to reach underserved communities.

Advocates alarmed as HUD considers dropping key mission
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), responsible for stopping housing discrimination, proposed new language in its mission statement that seemed to encourage consumer “self-sufficiency” over strict enforcement. The move alarmed civil rights, consumer, and fair housing advocates, who worry that the government agency expressly responsible for combating housing discrimination would deemphasize the importance of its mandate under the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The groups joined in a March 8 letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson asking him to correct this “unfortunate impression.” (It’s been reported that Carson subsequently responded in a HUD memo, saying: “The notion that any new mission statement would reflect a lack of commitment to fair housing is nonsense.”)

Federal government should not be financing gentrification of low-income neighborhoods
Consumer Action joined legal service offices, housing and consumer credit counseling agencies, base organizing groups and civil rights organizations in expressing strong concerns over the Federal Housing Finance Agency's oversight of Government Sponsored Entities (GSEs) and the Federal Home Loan Bank System enabling the displacement of low-income people and people of color.

Do not exempt mortgage lenders from reporting on underserved communities
Groups oppose legislation that would exempt certain lenders from reporting on closed-end mortgage loans if the depository institution originated fewer than 1,000 such loans in each of the two preceding years.

FHFA affordable housing goals laudable, but more can be done for low-income communities
Advocates submit comments to the Federal Housing Finance Agency regarding its efforts to improve strategies that ensure those from low-income communities have better access to affordable housing and homeownership.

Elderly in homes might be deprived the right to sue for abuse and neglect
Dozens of groups in the Fair Arbitration Now Coalition submitted public comments to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) opposing its proposal to eliminate protections for seniors who are harmed by mistreatment and legal violations in nursing homes.

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