Buying into housing discrimination

The city of Baltimore is holding home-buying fairs in a program called Buying Into Baltimore where they take people around Baltimore on trolleys, encouraging them to buy houses in that city. In fact, the first 50 people who buy a house through the program will get $3000. What the page linked to above doesn't mention is this:

Baltimore is offering 15 $3,000 grants to Hispanics who buy homes in the city... Legal scholars aren't sure the program could pass legal scrutiny -- in part because it singles out one minority group for special treatment...

There's more in this press release from the city:

In addition to 50 $3,000-grants available to the general public, ten grants will be reserved for Hispanic families participating in the workshop on September 6thand the trolley tour program. The Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development is undertaking this expanded grant program in cooperation with the Mayor's Hispanic Liaison Office, Live Baltimore Marketing Center, Fannie Mae, and Centro de la Comunidad. According Jose Ruiz, Hispanic Liaison and project coordinator, "The Road to Your Home in Baltimore / El Camino a Su Hogar en Baltimore" workshop and tour will provide participant with the main ingredients to becoming homeowners. The chance to receive a $3,000 grant will be a great incentive to participants who might otherwise be unable to make a down payment. For more information and to register contact Lorena Beltran at 410-545-6532. Special thanks to Assisi House, Home Down Payment Gift Foundation, BB&T Mortgage, Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corporation (see also this), Countrywide Home Loans, Live Baltimore, El Mensajero, El Tiempo Latino, and Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

All animals are now supposedly equal, it's just that some animals are, well, you know the rest.

As you can see from the above, the feds are involved via Fannie Mae. So, contact your congressmen about this example of blatant housing discrimination and suggest they do something about it. Also, I'll be looking up the contact information for the corporations mentioned. Centro de la Comunidad is a non-profit, and, based on past experience, is probably a recipient of money from the Ford Foundation. Their annual report is not available online, and their 990 (from doesn't say where their money comes from. Note however that one of their directors is associated with a foreign consulate (the Dominican Republic) and their president seems to have had a bit of trouble of late.