Director's Spotlight - April 2011
How Housing Fraud Can Crush the American Dream
A column by Alisa Warren, Executive Director of the Missouri Commission on Human Rights
Home ownership is a fundamental American dream realized by many Missourians, and a goal that many others strive towards. This April, we celebrate National Fair Housing Month by educating Missourians about the dangers of predatory lending and mortgage fraud. Fair housing means that all persons can live freely in the neighborhoods they choose, as long as they can afford the rent or purchase price of the home. Of course, most people must secure a loan to make their dream of home ownership a reality. But because buying or refinancing a home can be an incredibly complex process, some unscrupulous types travel the murky waters of mortgage lending fishing for consumers to scam.
Last year alone, more than 70,000 reports about suspicious mortgage activity were made to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) across the country.
The Department of Labor is taking proactive steps to protect citizens from further financial losses, foreclosures, and displacement from their homes due to these predatory tactics. To combat housing discrimination, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR), a commission within the Department, launched a year-long public awareness campaign. The Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project hit the streets in the state’s southeastern region with an intent to educate Missourians about their rights and responsibilities under fair housing laws. Nearly 1,000 people attended various events and learned how to protect themselves and where to turn if they suspect those protections have been violated.
The project was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD has funded a second year of continued, advanced community training—all free to the public.
The only way to outsmart dishonest brokers, lenders, or appraisers is to become a more well-informed consumer. If you are looking for a home, review HUD’s tips to help prevent you from entering into an unfair or discriminatory home loan that could ultimately lead to foreclosure. If you think you have been a victim of housing discrimination or predatory lending, contact MCHR at 573-751-3325 or toll free 877-781-4236 or visit www.labor.mo.gov/mohumanrights.
Director's Spotlight Archives
November 2011 - Native American Heritage Month
October 2011 - National Disability Employment Awareness
September 2011 - Labor Day: A Tribute to Missouri's Leadership in Worker Protection
April 2011 - How Housing Fraud Can Crush the American Dream
January 2011 - Worker Misclassification is Bad for Business
December 2010 - Working for the Holidays
November 2010 - Unemployment Benefits: Transitioning to Jobs
October 2010 - Protecting a Precious Industry
September 2010 - Labor Day: A Tribute to Missouri Workers
August 2010 - WorkReadyMissouri: Enhancing Missouri's Workforce
July 2010 - Workers' Compensation: Stepping Up Efforts against those Cheating the System
June 2010 - Preparing Missouri for the Evolving Economy
May 2010 - Workers' Memorial Day 2010
April 2010 - Missouri's Unemployment Update