LatinaLista — In these economic times, it makes sense that mortgage companies would want to make doubly sure that people can financially afford the house of their dreams at the time they’re buying it.
Yet, some mortgage companies have crossed the line in making these kinds of judgement calls. MomsRising shares with Latina Lista stories they’ve been receiving from women who related to the story MomsRising broke of a mother who was denied a mortgage loan because she was on maternity leave.
Since that story, and after the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was notified and began an investigation, other unbelievable stories surfaced and were reported to MomsRising from women across the country who also have suffered housing discrimination by being turned down for mortgage loans or denied renting an apartment because they were pregnant or had a young child with them.
Yet, the craziest and most insulting story was one recounted by a Latina who wasn’t even pregnant or had any children with her when she and her husband went to apply for a Wells Fargo Loan.
Linda Falcao, who happens to be a civil rights attorney, and her husband, applied for a Wells Fargo loan and were asked to do something most people aren’t — write a motivational letter explaining why they wanted the house and what kinds of family planning measures they intended to practice.
Linda wrote two letters — actually three: She wrote a tongue-in-cheek letter that made fun of the Wells Fargo request because as she said, “…sometimes you just have to laugh – otherwise you’ll cry your eyes out.”
She then wrote a serious letter that met the Wells Fargo guidelines because she says, “I didn’t think they would have a sense of humor about the whole thing, and we really needed the new house, having sold our old one at that point so we wrote them a very bland letter stating, among other things, that we did not plan to change our family size.”
Finally, she wrote a letter filing a Fair Housing Act complaint with HUD.
“In my HUD complaint, in addition to alleging sex discrimination, I have questioned whether this requirement is related to race and religion (I am Catholic, come from a family of nine, with an obviously Hispanic last name — do they somehow think I am more likely to have many children?)
I have asked them to focus on that in their investigation.”
Unfortunately, most women applying for a mortgage loan are not lawyers or savvy enough to know what our legal rights are when it comes to housing. For that reason, MomsRising has created a campaign called Help End Housing Discrimination Against Mothers where readers can sign a letter to HUD urging them to do a thorough investigation into discriminatory practices like that of Wells Fargo and put an end to subjecting women and young families to such treatment.