Safeguard Properties fired back against the National Fair Housing Alliance after being accused of providing higher levels of preservation services in predominantly white neighborhoods than properties in largely African American and Latino neighborhoods.
“Safeguard is disappointed that NFHA has taken this opportunity to conduct a press conference discussing this complaint. Since the complaint was originally filed, we have worked with HUD through the administrative process and have complied with information requests,” Safeguard said.
The NFHA alliance is on a tear filing numberous complaints with Federal authorities on behalf of minority homeowners. Safeguard is the most recent target in its sites, with the complaint filed yesterday. Bank of America, for example, faced similar charges.
The NFHA amended its complaint to include new evidence from New Orleans and highlights investigations in Dayton, Ohio; Toledo, Ohio; Baton Rouge, La. and Memphis, Tenn.
However, Safeguard asserted that it asked the NFHA for details on the actual properties they base their complaints on, but they have not cooperated.
“Safeguard performs services following industry standards set forth by Investors and our clients pursuant to service agreements. The standards pursuant to which Safeguard performs services do not vary based on the makeup of a particular community,” Safeguard said.
According to the NFHA, “the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center in Dayton, Ohio, the Toledo Fair Housing Center, and the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center described their findings in Dayton, Toledo, Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Memphis. In all cities, the groups found significant amounts of trash, overgrown invasive plants, and unsecured holes in the building structures of homes in communities of color, while rarely finding the same problems in White neighborhoods.”
“These communities were hardest hit by predatory lenders, then the foreclosure crisis, and now blighted REO properties. The lenders and the preservation companies, like Safeguard, played a role in the decline of the American dream; now they must play a role in neighborhood stabilization,” said Michael Marsh, President and CEO of the Toledo Fair Housing Center.
But in response, Safeguard said, “We take complaints of this nature very seriously. Safeguard has a proven record of working with our clients, communities, and civic leaders throughout the country to combat blight brought on by the housing crisis.”