Simone's Blog: Money Magnet

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

I can afford it, so why wasn't I shown that house?

Even though the laws are heavily enforced, housing discrimination is not only alive and well, but it's now far broader and more nuanced. Has it ever happened to you?

1)    It is illegal to deny housing to someone who meets the affordability standard on the basis of race, gender, class, religion, national origin, familial status, health condition or age. Sexual orientation is now also considered a protected class.
2)    While very few sellers and landlords will outright tell you that you're not approved due to one of these conditions, if that does happen you should immediately file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Also complain if your real estate agent steers you or away from neighborhoods where most of the residents do not look or act like you.
3)    Because discrimination is far more subtle these days, common acts now include intimidation, differential treatment, threats of violence and/or harassment. This can even be done by neighbors who don't want anyone unlike themselves to move in.
4)    Housing discrimination is incredibly prominent among low- and moderate-income (LMI) renters, as well as those with disabilities. LMI families are also more likely to experience environmental risks like lead-based paint, air pollution, dust, mold and mildew. Disabled Americans face the additional challenge of landlords not wanting to spend the money to accommodate their changing needs.

One reason you may not hear about housing discrimination as often is because the few that know the laws and file a complaint are often paid to settle out of court, which means that the landlord's acts may not be published or fully prosecuted. While that may be a short term win for the renter/homebuyer, it in no way resolves the issue, and in fact may make it worse for those who feel they have nowhere to turn. The very best thing you can do is make sure that you're away of your rights, and fight with all your might to protect them.

And so it is.