Fair Housing Education and Outreach Initiative Program

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida’s Fair Housing Initiative Program is dedicated to eliminating discrimination through education and outreach. The education and outreach program will conduct Fair Housing workshops, Fair Lending workshops and Mortgage Rescue Scam workshops. This will educate residents, housing professionals and government officials on their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act and local Fair Housing county ordinances.

Education

CLSMF partners with local housing organizations to present information to residents in our 12 county service area. The program advocates attend workshops such as First Time Homebuyers, Section 8 tenant briefings, Section 8 landlord briefings and many more. The program participates in several Fair Housing month events including the annual state wide Florida Fair Housing Summit. These events provide education on fair housing and lending discrimination and mortgage rescue scams.

We are available to give presentations to community groups, housing professionals, government officials and anyone interested in additional Fair Housing training. To schedule a presentation call us at (352) 629-0105 ext. 2930 or email us now!

Want written material on Fair Housing?

We can supply you with pamphlets for distribution among your clients, patients, employees, students, and members of your business or organization. Call us to receive materials on fair housing at (352) 629-0105 ext. 2930 or email us now!

Public Comments

CLSMF has issued public comments regarding bank performance subject to the Community Reinvestment Act for the following banks:

  • American Momentum Bank
  • Bank United
  • Branch Bank & Trust
  • Citizens Bank of Florida
  • Citizens First Bank
  • Florida Traditions Bank
  • TD Bank

You can view the public comments here:

Best Practices

Mortgage lenders may wish to take the following questions into account when analyzing their risk for fair lending violations:

  1. How is your assessment area defined? Does your assessment area arbitrarily exclude any nearby areas of high minority concentration?
  2. Are your branches, limited service offices, deposit-taking ATMs and administrative offices located in a range of communities, making your services and products accessible to persons irrespective of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, familial status or disability?
  3. How does your applicant pool for mortgage loans compare to the racial and ethnic makeup of the community which you serve?
  4. How do your origination and denial rates compare across racial / ethnic / gender / marital status lines?
  5. Do your marketing materials depict people (if any people are pictured) from a diverse range of backgrounds, taking into account race, color, religion, national origin, gender, familial status, and disability?
  6. Do you market your company and your products in venues and media that reach a diverse audience?
  7. Are you able to accommodate persons with disabilities, providing, for instance, telephone service for deaf or hearing-impaired customers, Braille service for ATMs, and accessible parking for persons with mobility impairments?
  8. Are you able to provide services for those with limited English proficiency, and do you identify for people where they can access services in Spanish or in languages other than English spoken frequently in your service area?
  9. Are loan officers trained to provide the same information about mortgage loan products that the lender offers (such as conventional loans, FHA, VA, USDA) to all customers who inquire, irrespective of their protected class?
  10. Are loan officers trained to provide the same referrals (such as for downpayment assistance or real estate agents) to all customers who inquire, regardless of their protected class?
  11. Are loan officers trained to provide the same information about loan qualifications (such as credit score, debt-to-income ratio, length of employment) to all customers who inquire, regardless of their protected class?
  12. Are loan officers trained to provide the same amount of coaching (such as advice about how to purchase a house) to all customers who inquire, regardless of their protected class?
  13. Are loan officers trained to provide the same prequalification or preapproval process to all customers who inquire, regardless of their protected class?
  14. Are loan officers trained to provide equal information on home listings, neighborhoods in which to purchase or which to avoid, or school districts, irrespective of the protected class status of the buyer or the racial/ethnic makeup of the neighborhood?
  15. Are loan officers trained to request the same information from borrowers requesting information (such as identification, name, address, contact information, income, and employment) regardless of protected class?
  16. Are loan officers aware that they are prohibited from inquiring into the nature and/or severity of a disability, unless an individual has requested a reasonable accommodation and that information is necessary to provide the person with an accommodation?
  17. Are loan officers aware that a woman on maternity leave from employment cannot be required to return to work first before being approved for a mortgage loan?
  18. Are underwriters trained to require the same documentation from all borrowers, regardless of their protected class?
  19. Are banks ensuring that any real estate owned- properties are being marketed and maintained similarly, without regard to the racial or ethnic makeup of the neighborhood?