The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center will get $1.4 million from Wells Fargo Bank N.A. within 10 days to develop home ownership opportunities as part of the settlement of a federal housing discrimination complaint.
“We will need to strategize and plan for how we will use the money, but we are intent upon getting the money into the community without delay,” Jim McCarthy, president/CEO, Miami Valley Fair Housing Center said. “I am hopeful to have the initial programs mapped out by the end of July.”
The funding comes from the first-ever settlement regarding the equal maintenance and marketing of bank-owned homes. The agreement stems from a federal housing discrimination complaint filed in April 2012 with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The complaint alleged that Wells Fargo’s bank-owned properties in white neighborhoods were better maintained and marketed than properties in black and Latino neighborhoods.
On Thursday, HUD, Wells Fargo and members of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) announced they had reached an agreement. The bank committed to invest $42 million in 44 communities across the country for development of programs to support home ownership, neighborhood stabilization, property rehabilitation and housing development.
“This represents a significant commitment by Wells Fargo, HUD and NFHA to invest in programs that will strengthen minority communities affected by foreclosure,” J.K. Huey, senior vice president of Wells Fargo said.
One other Ohio organization, the Toledo Fair Housing Center, will receive funding.
As part of the agreement, the bank will make reforms to its maintenance and marketing practices nationwide.
“This agreement will ensure that every community shares in the fruits of the housing recovery now underway,” Peter Romer‐Friedman, an attorney for Cohen, Milstein, Sellers & Toll who represented the fair housing organizations, said.
The agreement, effective Thursday, calls for the funding to be distributed immediately.
“The money will go directly to fair housing organizations to develop programs,” Romer-Friedman said. “Dayton’s needs are not the same as Chicago’s. Each local group may do something different.”
Miami Valley Fair Housing expects to provide a range of grants such as down payment assistance in targeted neighborhoods and renovation efforts for homes that languished in foreclosure, along with initiatives to increase home ownership and neighborhood stabilization.
“Many middle‐class, working people in the Dayton and Miami Valley region still face the threat of losing their homes, and many more have seen their property values plummet due to the foreclosure crisis,” McCarthy said.
NFHA has two similar housing discrimination complaints pending against US Bank and Bank of America, filed in April 2012 and September 2012 respectively.
$300,000: Wells Fargo committs for two national conferences
$250,000: Wells Fargo committs to NFHA for local fair housing centers to hold seminars and address delinquencies and foreclosures