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“My husband and I were denied a home loan last year due to my being on maternity leave. It was a tremendously frustrating experience, as I was employed and on a federally protected leave; though was told that in the eyes of the

Housing discrimination against pregnant women and mothers is illegal and unacceptable.

lender, I was unemployed.”  -- Olivia, California

Discrimination against mothers in our nation is disturbingly common.  We regularly see it in hiring and wages, but did you also know that discrimination against pregnant women and mothers is happening in home loans and rental applications across the country?

What!?

This type of discrimination against mothers is illegal under the Fair Housing Act and shouldn't be happening!

Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agrees and has amped up their investigations in part due to the help of MomsRising members like you.

Please thank HUD for working to end housing discrimination against mothers.  With one click on this link, you'll help keep up the momentum to put a stop to this illegal practice:  http://action.momsrising.org/go/978

Over the past year, more than ten thousand MomsRising members like you wrote to HUD and also shared many ways in which mothers are discriminated against when trying to rent or buy a home for their family. Your voices were just what was needed.  HUD is now conducting a dozen investigations on behalf of mothers.

According to John Trasviña, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, “HUD has heard about these cases of discrimination in large part because of the online group MomsRising.”  [1]

In fact, change is already beginning to happen: Elizabeth Budde of Washington State was denied a home loan from Cornerstone Mortgage Company - specifically because she was on maternity leave!  This is illegal.  HUD announced last week that Cornerstone will now not only compensate Elizabeth, they are also setting up a $750,000 fund to compensate other mothers if they come forward to show they too were discriminated against.  [2]

Housing discrimination against mothers can take many forms.  But unfortunately when mothers try to get a home loan or rent an apartment they often aren’t aware of their rights. (See the P.S. below this email for a brief overview of your rights.)

“I can't even count the number of times [when trying to rent an apartment] that I was hung up on as soon as I mentioned we had a toddler".  -- Christina, New York

No need is more basic than the need to shelter our families, and housing discrimination against mothers is illegal and unacceptable.  Because of MomsRising members like you who are speaking up, we are closer to ending this kind of discrimination.

Please click here to send a quick thanks to HUD and urge them to continue to vigorously investigate housing discrimination against mothers:http://action.momsrising.org/go/978

*And please use the "Share the Knowledge!" buttons below to share this blogpost with your friends. We want every mother (and fathers, grandparents and guardians) to know their rights when it comes to finding a home for their families.

PS: In order to clarify what is an illegal act of discrimination, MomsRising worked with HUD to develop an overview of mothers’ rights when seeking to rent or buy a house.  This overview can be read below and also found at this web page: http://action.momsrising.org/go/971

It’s illegal for a bank or mortgage company to deny a mother a home loan, to delay her loan, or to require a co-signer for the following reasons:

  • You are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • You are on maternity leave or are on short-term disability leave
  • You or a family member is a person of color

It’s illegal for a landlord to refuse to rent to a mother for the following reasons:

  • You are pregnant
  • You have a baby, child or teenagers (Or you have “too many children.”)
  • You have a disabled or special needs child
  • You or a family member is a person of color
  • The apartment has lead-based paint (Landlords are responsible for lead abatement before an apartment is put up for rent.)

PPS: If you feel you have been discriminated against in anything related to housing, you can contact HUD for assistance: call 800-669-9777 or click here for their website. You can also contact the National Fair Housing Alliance.

[1] Seattle Post Intelligencer, "Lender settles charge of discriminating against Seattle-area mom," June 1, 2011

[2] Huffingtonpost.com, "Ending Pregnancy-Related Lending Discrimination Is a Priority for HUD and America's Families." June 7, 2011


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