In many North Carolina counties, low-income and minority communities must still fight for access to one of life’s most basic needs—safe and affordable housing.
In 2014, the Justice Center’s Consumer Protection & Housing Project settled a case with the Village of Pinehurst, which initially refused to allow an affordable senior housing project to be built. Our complaint alleged that Pinehurst’s actions were based on the race and economic status of the would-be occupants. Thanks to our advocacy, the town gave the project the go-ahead and agreed to pay damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.
We also joined the UNC Center for Civil Rights to provide legal representation to an unincorporated, predominately African-American community in Brunswick County. The county refused to provide water and sewer services and was planning to expand a landfill next to the community—decisions that the community alleged were discriminatory. After several years of litigation, the county and community members agreed to a favorable settlement that addressed the concerns raised in the lawsuit.
We continue to help homeowners facing foreclosure. In 2014, six of our cases reached conclusions that allowed our clients to keep their homes, and we have several settlements pending. In our defense arguments, we make sure to use strategies that have the potential to create precedent that will protect other homeowners. For example, in one case we challenged the right of a mortgage servicer to pursue foreclosure when it has lost the homeowners’ mortgage note.
North Carolina has some of the best consumer protection laws in the nation, but they are constantly under attack by interests that hope to make money through shady business practices. In 2014, we succeeded in stopping efforts to legalize payday lending, increase fees on manufactured housing loans, and weaken protections for military personnel from abuses by consumer finance companies. We’re defending victims of one of the nation’s largest debt buying companies, which is filing cases against North Carolinians even though their abusive collection practices are illegal in our state. We are seeking to turn the case into a class-action lawsuit in 2015.
Annual Reports on Consumer Protections 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
Annual Reports on Housing Advocacy 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007