Undesign the Redline

It was a mix of personal and professional experiences that brought together three passionate artists to create the Undesign the Redline exhibit. Designed to address the transformation of place, race, and class, this exhibit curates a past-to-present journey, grounding discussions about race, wealth, opportunity and power.  Design practitioners, April De Simone, Sabrina Dorsainvil, and Branden Crooks wanted to provoke thought, questions, and dialogue around the policies, practices, and investments shaping the socio-spatial landscape of America. In commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the passing of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, HUD will host this interactive exhibit at its Headquarters building throughout the month of May.

What’s brilliant about this exhibit is its dual purpose. First, it seeks to educate the public on how our segregated metropolitan areas came about. The exhibit name itself offers the answer: through redlining. But ‘redlining’ here is shorthand for a host of practices, to include racially-restrictive covenants for entire subdivisions, private racial steering, government-supported redlining, and a host of other practices.

Second, the exhibit calls on us to “undesign” this legacy. To condemn these past practices and promise not to repeat them is not enough. The exhibit says we created a segregated society; now we must take active steps to undo it. This mirrors the mandate of the 1968 Federal Fair Housing Act for HUD and other federal agencies to “affirmatively further” the purposes of the Fair Housing Act. The exhibit helps fill in the gaps in the public’s understanding of why we must take active steps to reverse the harm.

When President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act on April 11, 1968, he said he was signing into law “the promises of a century.” This measure was necessary because we had not yet fully guaranteed for all Americans, equal protection under the law. President Johnson said, “We’ve come some of the way but not near all of it.”

Now, 50 years later, we still have a long course to run. We have achieved much in the way of the enforcement of the Act on behalf of individual families who have experienced discrimination.  We have helped obtain meaningful relief for them. Yet, that has not resulted in a major transformation of our neighborhoods. To do that, we must engage in more active work, at the Federal, state, and local level.

“Undesign the Redline” reminds us, going forward, we must live up to the Fair Housing Act’s central purpose—not just to root out discrimination, but, as the Act’s co-sponsor Senator Walter Mondale said, to promote “truly integrated and balanced living patterns.”

Undesign the Redline
Undesign the Redline

Opening Doors: Fair Housing Means Housing Choice without Discrimination

Photo: Fair Housing "Opening Doors" exhibit at HUD headquarters.

This month, HUD celebrates the 50-year legacy of the Fair Housing Act, the landmark legislation that was signed into law on April 11, 1968, and has helped open doors for millions of Americans. . We know the key to one’s home unlocks not just a door, but also provides a family access to a community, its schools, social networks, and jobs. As Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer noted in a recent opinion, “The housing market is interconnected with economic and social life.”

The passage of the Fair Housing Act allowed America to chart a new course. The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, and religion. In the 1970’s, an amendment to the law made discrimination based on gender also illegal. Then the 1988 Fair Housing Amendments Act added protections for persons with disabilities and families with children. That same law strengthened HUD’s enforcement power. Today, HUD’s enforcement actions address the broad range of discriminatory practices that still too often rear their head in the housing market.

The housing conditions before the passage of the Fair Housing Act demanded bold action. People of color were confined to what we then called “ghettos” and “barrios.” The Kerner Commission, convened by President Johnson to study the mid-sixties riots, determined that that housing discrimination and lack of opportunity were the significant underlying causes for the disorder we saw all around the country. The unrest following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. drove that point home for everyone in the United States.

So, on this 50th anniversary of the Act, we celebrate not only our country’s progress in eliminating housing discrimination, but also our nation’s commitment to make the American Dream a reality for all who live here.

We also now have 50 years of enforcement successes, robust caselaw, and strong partnerships to face the challenges ahead.

As we embark on the next 50 years of Fair Housing Act enforcement, let us use all our tools, our wisdom, and our commitment from the past half-century to the renewed struggle on behalf of the entire country.

Anna Maria Farias is the Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.

Opening Doors: Fair Housing Means Housing Choice without Discrimination
Opening Doors: Fair Housing Means Housing Choice without Discrimination

Mortgage Rates Fairly Steady Despite Market Weakness

Mortgage rates didn’t move much today, on average, even though underlying bond markets suggested a move higher. We talked about the stock/bond relationship being fairly well intact yesterday, and the same was true today. In other words, bonds (“rates”) were ready to move lower in the event that stock losses accelerated. In today’s case, stocks moved somewhat higher, and bond markets didn’t like that. Fortunately for rates, the stock gains were minimal today. If that changes in the coming days, rates could come under additional pressure. Given that rates are in line with their best levels in nearly 2 months, and the risk that stocks are finding a floor here, this looks like a good tactical opportunity to lock as opposed to float in the short-term. Longer-term, things are a bit less clear as
Mortgage Rates Fairly Steady Despite Market Weakness
Mortgage Rates Fairly Steady Despite Market Weakness

Ask HUD’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)

Welcome to “Ask HUD’s OSDBU”, a new blog series hosted by HUD’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), where frequently asked questions are posted with informative responses.  The goal in this blog is to provide information small businesses can use to effectively pursue federal contracting opportunities.

What is the OSDBU?  In 1978 Congress passed P.L. 95-507 which required every federal contracting agency to create an office of small and disadvantaged business utilization to develop, implement, and manage small business utilization programs, policies and procedures.

What does the office do?  HUD’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) is responsible for ensuring that small businesses including veteran-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, HUBZone, small disadvantaged, and women-owned small business concerns are treated fairly and have an opportunity to compete and be selected for a fair amount of HUD’s prime contracting and subcontracting opportunities.

HUD’s OSDBU conducts acquisition reviews and monitors HUD’s Small Business Goal and Achievement (both Prime and Subcontracting); provides internal and external training for acquisition professionals, program offices/managers, and the small and large business communities. Additionally, OSDBU responds to external inquiries from Congress, as well as the Government Accountability Office, Small Business Administration, OSDBU Council, Federal Acquisition Council, Office of the National Ombudsman; and conducts outreach and represents the Department at industry events.

Where to start contracting with HUD?  The OSDBU’s advice to small businesses interested in federal procurement is very simple: do your homework, list your certifications and credentials, establish relationships and be patient.

Homework: Before coming to HUD, visit www.hud.gov to research the agency and the program office in which you have an interest to understand the Department’s and program office’s mission, objectives and procurement needs. Make sure HUD procures what you are selling. Review Fedbizopps.gov and HUD’s Forecast of Contracting Opportunities on www.hud.gov/smallbusiness  to gain an understanding of procurement opportunities.

Certifications and Credentials: List your certifications such as 8(a), small disadvantaged business and HUBZone certifications on your business cards and capability statements. Your one-page capability statement should specifically indicate your firm’s credentials to compete for the procurement.

Relationships: Establish a relationship with the OSDBU and program office staff.  Make an appointment with the OSDBU to introduce your company and its capabilities.  Arrange marketing visits with program office staff to discuss contracting opportunities for which you are qualified.  Attend one of HUD’s Vendor Outreach Sessions.  In this high-tech world, it is still a personal touch that will win you your contract!

Patience: Finally, be patient and establish yourself.

 

Your comments and questions will help shape future blog posts.  Our goal is to provide you with informational resources about maximizing federal contracting opportunities for small businesses from which all can learn and benefit.

 

Ask HUD’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)
Ask HUD’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)

Mortgage Rates Sideways to Slightly Higher Despite Stock Rout

Mortgage rates were just barely higher in many cases today, although underlying bond markets recovered enough ground by the afternoon to suggest Monday’s rates will recoup those losses. The only catch is that other factors can have an effect on bonds between now and then. If bond markets are weaker by Monday morning, this afternoon’s strength will be overshadowed. Bottom line here: rates will start Monday with a very slight advantage “all things being equal.” Incidentally, the reason we don’t see this advantage today is that the bond market gains were small enough and happened late enough in the day that mortgage lenders didn’t update their rate sheets. The source of inspiration for the aforementioned bond market strength was a much bigger move in stocks. The latter are generally freaking out
Mortgage Rates Sideways to Slightly Higher Despite Stock Rout
Mortgage Rates Sideways to Slightly Higher Despite Stock Rout

Rental Assistance Demonstration in Cleveland: Bohn Tower

Mr. Brown shares about his experience being part of the renovation project while living as a tenant in the building.

When the 22-story high rise that he calls home went through a Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) conversion, resident Charles Brown decided to take an active role in the transformation.  “When you’re living in a building you care so much about and you get to be part of the process, it makes you feel outstanding,” he said.  Click here to hear more about this model transition and for the list of top recommendations for success based on the solid working relationship between the affordable housing property’s owners and its residents.

Read more>>

Rental Assistance Demonstration in Cleveland: Bohn Tower
Rental Assistance Demonstration in Cleveland: Bohn Tower

Today’s Word by Joel and Victoria

Today’s Scripture

“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.”
(Proverbs 4:25, NIV)

Look Straight Ahead

What are you looking at today? I don’t mean in the natural, but in the spiritual. What is in the forefront of your mind and heart? Are you constantly dwelling on your problems or things that have happened in your past? In the natural, you will move in the direction that your eyes are looking. In the spiritual, it works the same way. Whatever you focus your mind and heart on, you will move toward. That’s why this verse tells us to look straight ahead. If you are constantly dwelling on your problems or things in your past, wondering “what if”, then you will stay right where you are. But if you choose to forgive and release the past, then you can focus on what is ahead of you and begin to move forward. God doesn’t want you to live in the past. He wants you to meditate on His goodness and believe His promises so that you can keep growing. God is a creative God, and He has designed a wonderful future for you. Look straight ahead so you can see it and move forward into the life of victory God has promised!

A Prayer for Today

“Heavenly Father, today I set my focus on You. I choose to forget the past by forgiving others so that I can look straight ahead to Your promises. I ask that You direct my heart on the path of life that You have for me in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

To receive these daily in your email, got to JoelOsteen.com

 

Today’s Word with Joel and Victoria

Today’s Scripture

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
(Romans 12:2, NKJV)

Retrain Your Brain

Living in victory means that sometimes you have to develop new habits. If you’ve been negative for a long time, you’ve got to retrain your thinking from “I can’t” to “I can;” from “It won’t happen” to “It will happen;” from “I’ll never get well” to “God is restoring health unto me;” from “I never get any good breaks” to “God’s favor surrounds me like a shield;” from “I’ve made too many mistakes. I’m all washed up;” to “I’m redeemed and forgiven. My best days are still out in front of me.”

It doesn’t matter how bad it looks, how many people have told you no, or how long it’s been that way, God has the final say. It’s not over till God says it’s over. Shake off the self-pity. Shake off the disappointment. Declare His promises over your life and see His victory as you align yourself with Him!

A Prayer for Today

“Heavenly Father, thank You for being my source of life. Thank You for Your hand of blessing that is leading and guiding me. I choose to make You the number one priority in my life. Let my heart hunger only for You today in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Be Careful With News on Mortgage Rates Today

It’s Thursday, which means Freddie Mac released its weekly update on mortgage rates . This is typically not that big of a deal because mortgage rates don’t tend to move enough in the short term to expose the shortfalls of Freddie’s methodology. To be perfectly fair to Freddie, their methodology is fine for those who want a once-a-week look at rates and who aren’t currently in the process of shopping for a mortgage or home. Unfortunately , much of the consumer-level interest in mortgage rate news comes from those who are in the process of shopping from a mortgage or home! Granted, they’re not seeking out Freddie’s rate survey, but they do tend to come across internet news that cites Freddie’s data as a source. Enter the pitfalls. Freddie’s survey deadline is Wednesday for any given week and
Be Careful With News on Mortgage Rates Today
Be Careful With News on Mortgage Rates Today

Rental Assistance Demonstration in San Francisco: Holly Courts

“We’re glad to be home; it’s beautiful.”  Deborah Gibson and Herman Travis have been residents for 13 years at Holly Courts, the first public housing project built in San Francisco. Their unit was one of 118 that went through a Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) conversion that allowed the housing authority to invest in everything from new floors and kitchen appliances to increased lighting that transformed the units into light and airy spaces. Click here to see their newly renovated home and to hear more of their story.

Read more about Holly Courts.

Rental Assistance Demonstration in San Francisco: Holly Courts
Rental Assistance Demonstration in San Francisco: Holly Courts