Mother & Family Matters

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When it rains it pours, and that’s a bad thing when it comes to discrimination against mothers.

We recently wrote about a mom whose application for a mortgage loan was turned down because she was on maternity leave, and we also shared the news that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has launched an investigation. [1] [2]

Right after we posted that, stories poured in as many moms across the country wrote MomsRising saying that they’d also been refused a home loan or turned away from renting an apartment. All because they were pregnant, on maternity leave, or had a child in tow when they were seeking some form of access to housing.

Discrimination against mothers has got to stop!

Sign MomsRising’s letter to HUD urging them to keep pushing forward on their investigations into maternal and racial housing discrimination:

**We will be delivering the letter with your signatures next week in D.C., and the more signatures we have, the more impact we’ll have generating media attention about discrimination against mothers.

Check out what Linda Falcão from Pennsylvania had to say when she and her husband were applying to Wells Fargo for a mortgage loan and the bank told her that before approving the loan, she had to write a “motivational” letter explaining why they wanted to buy the house and Wells Fargo asked her to address, among other things, any planned “increase/decrease” in family size. Using humor to deal with her anger, Linda jokingly responded:

Well, my husband and I are 49 and practice rigorous birth control (thanks for asking!), but if I turn up pregnant, after I call my dead parents and the Easter bunny, you, Wells Fargo, will be next on my list to notify about the miracle baby!!”

On a more serious note she told MomsRising:

“The experience of discussing these personal matters with total strangers, when I really didn’t see how it impacted my ability to repay this loan, was humiliating and demeaning.”

And Mary, a MomsRising member from Ohio told us:

“When I was looking for my first apartment after my divorce, I had my one year old son along with me and I had two people tell me that they wouldn’t rent to me because I had a child of that age. TWO! The first guy claimed it was because he had an elderly person in the building and the other just said “kids tear up everything” like my precious son was a pet or something…”

Lest anyone think these kinds of maternal discrimination stories are few and far between, last week HUD announced yet another investigation. They filed charges against Pennsylvania property owners and managers who wouldn’t rent to a mother and her young daughter. This family ended up in a shelter with the daughter being separated from her mother while the mother continued to look for housing. [3]

Let HUD know that moms everywhere want maternal housing discrimination to stop immediately and that we strongly urge them to keep up their important work to protect American families!

After we initially sent word out to our mom-network about maternal housing discrimination (with the help of many MomsRising members like you), MomsRising received encouraging feedback from leadership at HUD. Assistant Secretary John Trasviña emailed us to say:

“Thank you, MomsRising, for helping HUD get word out about the continued existence of discrimination against families with children. It is illegal and unacceptable and, with the help of MomsRising, we are more effective in enforcing the fair housing law.”

HUD’s commitment to investigate housing discrimination is a welcome beginning to what hopefully will be a more comprehensive effort on the part of Congress, and all of our government agencies, to combat pregnancy and family responsibilities discrimination in all settings, for all women.

Sign the letter to HUD now to send a strong message that investigations into discriminatory home lending practices against mothers needs to continue to be a top priority:

And please take a moment to share this post with three or more of your friends and co-workers. We need all of our voices together to make sure mothers are treated fairly.

Thank you for all you are doing to help build a family-friendly America!

PS:  If you feel you’ve been discriminated against in any form of housing (as a renter, owner, or in trying to get a loan, etc.) due to being pregnant or having children, please share your story with us now.  MomsRising will compile these stories and send them to HUD and the media.   Send us your story

[1] Bernard, Tara Siegel “Need a Mortgage? Don’t Get Pregnant,” The New York Times, July, 20 2010

[2] U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development “HUD To Investigate Mortgage Lenders Who Discriminate Against Expectant Mothers And New Parents” July 21, 2010

[3] U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development “HUD Charges Pennsylvania Property Owners and Managers with Housing Discrimination” August 11, 2010 is an organization working to build a truly family-friendly nation. Started in May, 2006, MomsRising uses the power of online organizing in coordination with grassroots activities and media outreach to educate the public about problems facing American families and to propose common sense solutions. provides citizens with an opportunity to amplify their voices and to take their concerns to leaders who are in positions to implement real changes.

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