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Category Archives: Housing

HUD File Housing Discrimination Complaint Against Facebook

“WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today a formal complaint against Facebook for violating the Fair Housing Act by allowing landlords and home sellers to use its advertising platform to engage in housing discrimination. HUD claims Facebook enables advertisers to control which users receive housing-related ads based upon the recipient’s race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, disability, and/or zip code. Facebook then invites advertisers to express unlawful preferences by offering discriminatory options, allowing them to effectively limit housing options for these protected classes under the guise of ‘targeted advertising.’ Read HUD’s complaint against Facebook. “The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination including those who might limit or deny housing options with a click of a mouse,” said Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “When Facebook uses the vast amount of personal data it collects to help advertisers to discriminate, it’s the same as slamming the door in someone’s face. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing transactions including print and online advertisement on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status. HUD’s Secretary-initiated complaint follows the Department’s investigation into Facebook’s advertising platform which includes targeting tools that enable advertisers to filter prospective tenants or homebuyers based on these protected classes.  For example, HUD’s complaint alleges Facebook’s platform violates the Fair Housing Act. It enables advertisers to, among other things:

  • display housing ads either only to men or women;
  • not show ads to Facebook users interested in an “assistance dog,” “mobility scooter,” “accessibility” or “deaf culture”;
  • not show ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in “child care” or “parenting,” or show ads only to users with children above a specified age;
  • to display/not display ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in a particular place of worship, religion or tenet, such as the “Christian Church,” “Sikhism,” “Hinduism,” or the “Bible.”
  • not show ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in “Latin America,” “Canada,” “Southeast Asia,” “China,” “Honduras,” or “Somalia.”
  • draw a red line around zip codes and then not display ads to Facebook users who live in specific zip codes…”

Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate

Union of Concerned Scientists – “Hundreds of thousands of homes are at risk of chronic flooding due to sea level rise over the coming decades. The implications for coastal residents, communities, and the economy are profound…Sea levels are rising. Tides are inching higher. High-tide floods are becoming more frequent and reaching farther inland. And hundreds… Continue Reading

The Book of Hope

Rockefeller Institute of Government – Nancy Zimpher: “Working together, good people are changing the world. In his new book Reclaiming the American Dream: Proven Solutions for Creating Economic Opportunity for All,[1] Ben Hecht spotlights efforts that are successfully addressing some of the country’s most pressing issues: meaningful employment, economic empowerment, impactful civic involvement, education that… Continue Reading

NIH-funded scientists put socioeconomic data on the map

NIH: “The Neighborhood Atlas (link is external), a new tool to help researchers visualize socioeconomic data at the community level is now available. This online platform allows for easily ranking and mapping neighborhoods according to socioeconomic disadvantage. Seeing a neighborhood’s socioeconomic measures, such as income, education, employment and housing quality, may provide clues to the effects… Continue Reading

Survey – Majority Of Millennials Blame Baby Boomers For Destroying Their LIves

Axios/Survey Monkey poll: “Millennials, the largest and most significant generation for the US labor market, came of age in the era of broken central bank policies, leading to the greatest wealth, income and inequality gap in recent history. While baby boomers promised millennials the world through (expensive) college degrees, this generation discovered that massive student… Continue Reading

The State of the Nation’s Housing 2018

Joint Center for Housing Studies Harvard University – “The inaugural State of the Nation’s Housing report in 1988 noted that the majority of Americans were well housed and some conditions have improved since then. More than 40 million units have been built over the past three decades, accommodating 27 million new households, replacing older homes,… Continue Reading

What Unites and Divides Urban, Suburban and Rural Communities

Amid widening gaps in politics and demographics, Americans in urban, suburban and rural areas share many aspects of community life Pew – “…The divides that exist across urban, suburban and rural areas when it comes to views on social and political issues don’t necessarily extend to how people are experiencing life in different types of… Continue Reading

Study – Almost half of US families can’t afford basics like rent and food

CNN Money – The economy may be chugging along, but many Americans are still struggling to afford a basic middle class life. “Nearly 51 million households don’t earn enough to afford a monthly budget that includes housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and a cell phone, according to a study released Thursday by the… Continue Reading

US on track to be a majority-minority nation by 2044 – census data show most of our neighbors are the same race

Washington Post: “Since 1990, more than 90 percent of U.S. metro areas have seen a decline in racial stratification, signaling a trend toward a more integrated America. Yet, while areas like Houston and Atlanta have undergone rapid demographic changes, cities like Detroit and Chicago still have large areas dominated by a single racial group. Some… Continue Reading

How Will the New Tax Law Affect Homeowners in High Tax States? It Depends

New York Fed – Liberty Street Economics: “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) introduces significant changes to the federal income tax code for individuals and businesses. Several provisions of the new tax law are particularly significant for the owner‑occupied housing market. In this blog post, we compare the federal tax liability and… Continue Reading

Zillow Research – Home Values and Rents by Congressional District

“Housing costs, both home values and rents, rose nationwide and in a majority of Congressional districts in 2017. Median home values rose last year in 421 of 426 (99 percent) total Congressional districts analyzed by Zillow; rents were up in 295 of 434 (68 percent) total districts analyzed. Home values and rents tend to be… Continue Reading

Urban Heat: Can White Roofs Help Cool World’s Warming Cities?

Yale Environment 360: “Summers in the city can be extremely hot — several degrees hotter than in the surrounding countryside. But recent research indicates that it may not have to be that way. The systematic replacement of dark surfaces with white could lower heat wave maximum temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius or more. And with… Continue Reading