Central Indiana fair housing group to get $1M in Fannie Mae settlement

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The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana and 20 other fair housing organizations across the country announced Monday that they have reached a $53 million agreement with Fannie Mae to settle a discrimination suit.

The lawsuit, filed in 2016, accused the federally chartered corporation of discriminatory practices, alleging it failed to maintain foreclosed properties in communities of color as well as it did in white neighborhoods.

The Fair Housing Center will receive $1 million, according to Executive Director Amy Nelson: $276,000 to cover a lengthy investigation, for litigation and for future programming, and a $755,000 community relief share.

“Far too many of Indianapolis’ Black neighborhoods are still suffering from the foreclosure crisis and the subsequent loss of owner-occupied housing units,” Nelson said in a statement Monday. “These funds will provide a needed boost to rehab vacant homes in need, assist in homeowner repair projects and support grassroots organizations in our hardest hit neighborhoods of color to stop any further deterioration and loss of housing stock.”

Nelson wrote in an email to IBJ that the Fair Housing Center will disburse the money as grants, although the board of directors “will ultimately decide what type.”

A group working in the greater Chicago metropolitan area will also use funds in northwest Indiana’s Lake County.

South Suburban Housing Center Executive Director John Petruszak said a $755,000 community relief share would go to the Gary metropolitan area. Petruszak said the organization plans to expand a down payment and mortgage help program established with funds from a similar 2014 settlement with Wells Fargo.

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