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Unfair Housing Practices Help Push CO Foreclosure Rate Sky-High

April 16, 2007

Foreclosure rates are soaring in Colorado, and some experts point to unfair housing practices and predatory loans that violate federal fair housing law. April is "Fair Housing Month" and a number of agencies and non-profits are trying to educate Coloradoans about their rights through a Fair Housing Hotline and conference.

State Civil Rights Director Wendell Pryor says unfair housing and lending practices are partly to blame for the high foreclosure rate, and that Coloradoans are talked into loans that they can't afford.

"Clearly, we have problems with loans, some of which we think are what we call predatory. People are being allowed to or accepting loans that have unfavorable terms that will eventually lead to people losing their homes, and so it's important for us to make sure people understand their rights."

Pryor also says housing discrimination is common in Colorado, and some of the most tragic victims of unfair housing practices are families with children.

"You can't just automatically deny housing to families with children, and a significant percentage of the homeless population is made up of families with children."

Fair housing laws prohibit discrimination based on race, creed, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability, and marital or family status.

Government agencies and local non-profits announced a new partnership this month to fight the problem, including a new Fair Housing hotline at 1-866-231-6946.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - CO