WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released a groundbreaking large-scale study today, which found that same-sex couples experience less favorable treatment than heterosexual couples in the online rental housing market. The study found that heterosexual couples were more likely to receive a favorable response regarding a prospective rental over gay male couples 15.9 percent of the time and over lesbian couples 15.6 percent of the time.

"This study's results are disturbing and confirm something we've all suspected but didn't have the firm data to prove – lesbian and gay couples are discriminated against when they look for places to live," said Ian Thompson, American Civil Liberties Union legislative representative. "Conducting this study is yet another example of HUD demonstrating its commitment to the LGBT community. But we desperately need congressional action so that the Fair Housing Act is amended to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity."

The study is available here:

This statement is available at:

Source: Press release by M. Giglio

Leap into spring with a sunny forecast for real estate! Chicago home sales surged on the last day of February – Leap Day. The winter sales numbers over a 28-day period show home sales (single-family and condo) increased a whopping 15.1% over this same time period last year.

In Chicago, on 2/29, home sales increased on the day alone by 16.6% over last year at this time.

A new report just released by the researchers at the National Association of Realtors reveals that over the next 20 years aging baby boomers and their echo boomer children will significantly impact trends in the nation’s housing market. As the senior population swells by 30 million (over 65) they will release more housing into the marketplace than they absorb. This increased supply means additional buying opportunities for echo boomers (born between 1981and 1995).

In article by Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist entitled, “Returns to Normal?” poses some interesting questions and observations. He writes: “Housing affordability conditions are at their highest since record-tracking began in 1970. Homebuyers are facing the best opportunity to be homeowners in at least the past two generations. The exceptionally low default rates of recent years attest to successful homeownership among people who stay well with their budgets.”

Definitely, encouraging news to “spring for” a new house that suits you and your family this year!


Funding will help state and local governments enforce fair housing laws, educate public about their housing rights.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it has awarded $7.5 million to state and local government agencies that enforce fair housing laws and help communities and housing providers to better understand their fair housing rights and responsibilities (see some below).  The funds will also be used to promote the Department’s new Equal Access to Housing regulation, which ensures that HUD housing and programs are open to all families, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.  Read project descriptions for each grant.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates the Obama Administration’s commitment to ending housing discrimination, no matter what form it takes,” said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “With these funds, state and local government agencies on the front line of the fight will be able to continue their efforts to take on today’s many fair housing challenges.”

In awarding the funds, which are provided through HUD’s Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP), HUD is responding to requests and suggestions from state and local government agencies that are seeking to partner with organizations that will assist in fair housing enforcement and outreach. The funds will help local communities learn more about their fair housing rights and housing providers meet their fair housing obligations, including those related to HUD’s new Equal Access to Housing regulation.

Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) Grant Funding
Arizona Office of the Attorney General (AAG)  • Phoenix $138,650.00
Arizona Office of the Attorney General (AAG) • Phoenix $13,679.00
Arkansas Fair Housing Commission (AFHC) • Little Rock • $215,510.00
California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (CDFEH) • Los Angeles $457,176.00
Colorado Commission of Civil Rights (CCCR) • Denver $103,980.00

Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CCHRO) • Hartford $39,900.00
Deleware Division on Human Rights (DDHR) • Dover $25,000.00
District of Columbia • DC Office of Human Rights (DCOHR) • Washington $270,000.00
Florida • Broward County Office of Intergovernmental & Professional Standards, Human Rights Section (BCHRS)
Fort Lauderdale $21,500.00
Hawaii • Hawaii Civil Rights Commission (HCRC) • Honolulu $25,000.00
Hawaii Civil Rights Commission (HCRC) • Honolulu $10,000.00
Illinois • Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) • Chicago $100,000.00
Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) • Chicago $100,000.00

Indiana • Evansville/Vanderburgh Human Relations Commission (EVHRC) • Evansville $25,000.00

For more HUD programs visit  www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov.  
Source: press release
State Rep. Feigenholtz Holds Mortgage Relief Project to Help Local Residents Avoid Foreclosure

CHICAGO – Continuing her efforts to protect local residents and reduce area foreclosures, state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) participated in the Mortgage Relief Project on Saturday to help Chicago residents keep their homes and avoid foreclosures. Residents from Lakeview to Cicero came for the opportunity to meet with Department of Housingand Urban Development-certified housing counselors to ask questions about their mortgages.

The seminar marked the twentieth stop in the statewide Mortgage Relief Project, an initiative of Governor Pat Quinn to help homeowners keep their homes and avoid foreclosure. The program is administered by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and was co-hosted by Feigenholtz, state Sen. President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), state Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago), Alderman Tom Tunney and outgoing Alderman Vi Daley.

“The state of Illinois wants to help you keep your homes because avoiding foreclosures improves our communities as a whole,” Feigenholtz said. “Legislators are working hard in Springfield to ensure that homeowners have the tools they need to be informed about their options and prevent foreclosure. Whether we are urging Congress to place a moratorium on foreclosures or giving homeowners more time to refinance their mortgages, we must protect our residents.”

Feigenholtz is also encouraging residents to be aware of the Homeowner Protection Act, which gives homeowners who have fallen behind in their mortgage payments a grace period of up to 90 days if they seek and enter housing counseling. Homeowners can use this period to refinance their mortgage or set up a payment plan with their bank.

“Many homeowners came because they did not have anywhere else to go and felt trapped by their mortgage,” said Feigenholtz. “Having a one-stop shop where homeowners can meet one-on-one with a housing counselor, learn about mortgages and get honest answers to their questions gives homeowners valuable information to help them fight to keep their homes. Falling behind on your mortgage does not have to lead to foreclosure and I am working hard to provide as many tools as possible to help people get back on the right financial track.”

Homeowners who were unable to attend Saturday’s event may call IDFPR’s consumer helpline at (800) 532-8785 for assistance. For more information about the program, please visit www.idfpr.com or www.ihda.org. A list of HUD-approved housing counseling agencies in Illinois can be found at www.hud.gov.

Source: IL State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz office.
Posted on July 16, 2010
by David Cohen

Using funds from Cook County, The Chicago Community Trust awarded $225,000 in community outreach grants to 10 nonprofit organizations committed to spread the word face-to-face and door-to-door about  the Circuit Court of Cook County Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program. The Mediation Program provides free housing counseling and legal services to Cook County homeowners and families in foreclosure. The program is aimed at helping homeowners resolve their mortgage cases in the most timely and respectful manner possible. The Trust’s role is part of its commitment to address the foreclosures crisis in the Chicago region, and is being developed in close coordination with the Court and its partners, as well as with Regional Home Ownership Preservation Initiative (RHOPI) partners, including Woodstock Institute, Housing Action Illinois, and Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago. For more information on RHOPI, visit www.regionalhopi.org

“A key element of any successful program is its outreach strategy. When it comes to promoting participation, the way you communicate the benefits of a program and engage people is almost as important as the quality of the services provided. This is especially true when families must deal with a process as intimidating and complex as a foreclosure case,” said Roberto Requejo, program officer at The Chicago Community Trust.  “Trusted community-based nonprofits can be the best messengers to communicate to families that they are not alone: experts are available free of charge (attorneys, counselors, mediators) and can help them stay in their homes.”

We are excited about the Circuit Court of Cook County’s plan for community outreach,” said Rabbi Joshua Salter, Associate Rabbi of Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation in Chicago Lawn. “Our temple, which is a member institution of the Southwest Organizing Project, recognizes the need for institutions and residents to connect to those who are struggling in our neighborhoods. This innovative outreach effort will train residents in our community who are troubled by the rising number of families in foreclosure on their blocks to reach out to their neighbors face-to-face and help them get to the assistance they need to stay in their homes.”

The Chicago Community Trust has been retained to award and monitor 10 six-month grants to nonprofits providing face-to-face or door-to-door outreach to Cook County borrowers. The work of the grantees is part of a larger overall outreach campaign coordinated by the Court.

“Homeowners facing foreclosure in Cook County now have a court-sponsored program that can help them navigate the court and the housing counseling process.  Action Now will continue to reach out to homeowners that may be unaware of the new mediation process and quickly connect them to the program.  Our goal is to increase the number of foreclosure victims that attend court and become actively involved in the process of resolving their foreclosure situation.  Now that Cook County Courts have a program to help homeowners, our job is to make sure that members of our community are fully informed about their options and take advantage of the resources now available,” said Michelle Young, president of Action Now.

The foreclosure crisis continues to have a profound effect on individuals, families and communities. In Cook County, more than 145,000 filings for foreclosures occurred between 2006 and 2009. Many homeowners would be able to avert foreclosure and remain in their homes if they sought help. However, currently, it is estimated that fewer than 10% of homeowners in foreclosure show up at court when required, and in the hardest hit areas of Cook County, about the same percentage have used the services of a housing counselor certified by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Specific information on facts, trends and responses related to our current foreclosure crisis can be found at the Regional Home Ownership Preservation Initiative (RHOPI) Web site, co-sponsored by the Trust and available at: www.regionalhopi.org

During the convenings of the Regional Home Ownership Preservation Initiative (RHOPI), housing experts and practitioners throughout our region agreed upon the need to establish effective outreach strategies to reach out to troubled borrowers . The RHOPI Action Plan established as a priority the development of “early, effective and efficient regional outreach to households experiencing or at risk of experiencing foreclosure.” A variety of initiatives currently reach out to Cook County borrowers at risk of foreclosure or in foreclosure proceedings, from large events where borrowers are assisted in submitting applications for loan modification, to door-to-door initiatives where community-based organizations inform neighbors about their options.

About The Chicago Community Trust For 95 years, The Chicago Community Trust, our region’s community foundation, has connected the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. In 2009, the Trust, together with its donors, granted more than $100 million to nonprofit organizations.  From strengthening schools to assisting local art programs, from building health centers to helping lives affected by violence, the Trust continues to enhance our region. To learn more, please visit the Trust online at www.cct.org.