Housing alliance accuses Bank of America of fanning blight with foreclosed homes

This Phoenix house, in a predominantly Latino neighborhood, was covered in trash, broken glass, leaves, and a door was found wide open in the back of the house, according to the National Fair Housing Alliance’s report. / National Fair Housing Alliance

By Ronald J. Hansen

The Arizona Republic

A national housing group has accused Bank of America of allowing foreclosed homes in minority neighborhoods, including some in the Phoenix area, to fall into blighted conditions, unlike similar properties it owns in predominantly White areas.

The National Fair Housing Alliance filed an administrative complaint Tuesday against the bank with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development based on its observations at 373 houses in eight cities across the country and said more complaints involving more cities were likely to come soon.

Accumulated trash, broken doors and windows and even dead animals were spotted on Bank of America properties in neighborhoods that are predominantly Black or Hispanic, said Shanna Smith, president of the alliance, a non-profit organization focused on ending discrimination in housing. This has helped ensure the empty homes remain that way and makes neighboring properties in those areas less valuable, she said. The practice also runs afoul of fair-housing rules, Smith said, and is troubling for a bank that received taxpayer support.

This Peoria house, in a predominantly white neighborhood, was %22clean and well-secured,%22 according to the National Fair Housing Alliance’s report. : National Fair Housing Alliance

“We’re talking about a tale of two recoveries,” she said. “We have found significant racial disparity.”



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