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Open Communities Part of Historic Fair Housing Settlement with Fannie Mae

The fight for fair housing is far from over, but we won a great victory for local and national fair housing!

Black and white photo of house door and window. Photo by Matt Moloney on Unsplash

Open Communities, HOPE Fair Housing Center, and South Suburban Housing Center were part of a landmark $53 million dollar settlement with Fannie Mae.


The lawsuit alleged that Fannie Mae maintained and marketed its foreclosed homes in predominantly White neighborhoods while allowing similar homes in communities of color to fall into disrepair. This differential treatment exacerbated the damage caused by the 2008 mortgage crisis and impeded recovery from the crisis in neighborhoods of color. The case took eight years and was the first time a federal court confirmed the nation's fair housing laws cover the maintenance and marketing of Real Estate Owned (REO) properties.


We are proud to be part of the collaboration within the Fair Housing enforcement community to bring this issue to the forefront. The success, in this case, brings us one step further in the advancement of racial equity in housing in the Chicago metropolitan area.
-Cheryl Lawrence, CEO of Open Communities.

The 2016 allegations against Fannie Mae arose after a comprehensive, four-year investigation of more than 2,300 Fannie Mae-owned foreclosed properties in 39 metropolitan areas in the country. Of those properties, 378 were located in the Chicago and Gary metropolitan areas. Fair Housing organizations collected more than 49,000 photographs revealing poorly maintained properties in Black and Latino communities, particularly compared to properties in predominantly White neighborhoods.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grants supported the investigation into potential disparities in the maintenance and marketing of REO properties.

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