By Yvonne Smith, Staff Writer
HARTFORD — The city’s foreclosure rate jumped a whopping 74 percent from February to March, according to a report released today.
In March, 74 household units in Hartford received a foreclosure notice, as opposed to 35 households in February.
Hartford’s foreclosure rate for the month of March is above the state’s average, a 22 percent increase from February’s filings, according to Realtytrac. Since 2005, the firm has been tracking foreclosure rates state by state.
The state and several organinations have implemented measures to help stem the recent wave of foreclosures. In addition, the federal government is urging banks to “do more.”
Connecticut’s General Assembly yesterday passed a bill to extend court-mandated mediation. And the NAACP recently withdrew a lawsuit against Wells Fargo after the company agreed on the NAACP’s “Banking Principles on Fairness and Lending.” The agreement advances “practices that ensure all borrowers get the higheste quality credit vehicle appropriatef or their circumstnces and that gaurd agains racial discrimination in lending,” according to its website. The NAACP remains in litigation with 14 other financial insitutions, inlcuding JP Morgan Chase, Citibank adn HSBC over allegations of unfair lending practices and lending discrimination.
On the heels of this depressing news for the city, its thrid annual clebration of Fair Housing Month next Friday will be especially poingnant for those facing foreclosure. This year’s theme is “Knowledge is the Key,” and it will be from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Hartford Public Library, Seminar Room on the second floor at 500 Main St. Speakers include representatives from, among others, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Developmement, housing Education Resource Center and the State’s Comission on Human Rights Opportunities.
This year marks the 42nd anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act. The landmark civil rights legislation—also known as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act—was enacted April 11, 1968.
Fair Housing Act protects the right of every individual or family to live in the home of their dreams, in the neighborhood of their choice, and prohibits discrimination concerning the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, elderliness, and family status.
“Today discrimmination is not always as obvious,” said Elda Sinani, coordinator of the event.” It’s not as obvious as a slammed door, and ignorance of the law is not a defense.”
The seminar is targeting homeowners as well as housing providers such as property mangers, landlords, real estate agents, banks, insurance companies, mortgage lenders, developers, and other housing professionals, organizers said.
The city provides education and referrals and will soon start enforcement, Sinani said.
For additional information and pre-registration please contact Elda Sinani, Fair Housing Officer at (860)757-9787.