The NAACP Legal Department’s Fair Housing & Public Accommodations Program (“Program”) seeks to eradicate housing discrimination whether its in the private or public sector in renting or buying, throughout the United States. Moreover, the Program concentrates on eliminating redlining by insurance companies and realtors alike while seeking to thwart the efforts of predatory lenders. Finally, the public accommodations aspect of the Program attempts to address the ongoing phenomenon of public accommodations (e.g. hotels, restaurants, etc.) discriminating on the basis of race or color.
Over three decades ago, the NAACP recognized that, “[i]n no area of civil rights is the need for national action more compelling than in the field of housing. Racial segregation in housing virtually assures segregation in school, recreation, community facilities, and severely limits access to new job opportunities.”
While the overt segregation of centuries continues in only partially abated form, those who discriminate have found more subtle, yet equally pernicious, ways to mistreat historically disfavored groups like African Americans and other persons of color. In a recent study regarding sub prime lending the authors noted that African Americans and Hispanics are disproportionately represented in the area of sub prime home refinancing and that the disparity increases as minorities become more affluent.
The Program seeks to eradicate subtle and more overt barriers to housing as well as disparate treatment in access to mortgage capital by concerted testing efforts, litigation, legislative initiatives, and community education.