The Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to fund a $300,000 program of workshops to assist tenant groups in coverting their apartment houses into cooperatives. This is an effort to prevent displacement of low- and moderate-income residents when developers convert rental units into luxury condomiiniums.
Local organizations and governments have also pledged financial support of the workshops. The Washington program will take place Feb. 4 and 5 at Harambee House. For information contact Larry Weston of the Metropolitan Washington Planning & Housing Association (842-1800) or Edward Jesse of the Potomac Association of Housing Cooperatives in Silver Spring (589-5450).
This is the government's first effort to reach out to community groups involved in tenant-sponsored co-op conversions, said Geno Baroni, HUD's assistant secretary for neighborhoods.
The workshops are sponsored by the National Association of Housing Cooperatives and the National Urban Coalition. They will offer advice on conversion procedures, organizing strategies, financing, contractor selection and legal problems. Washington sponsors include Housing Counseling Services, Center City Community Corp., Fourteenth Street PAC, and Far Southest and Community Corp.
Another help in housing is the Potomac Institute's new 67-page booklet telling mortgage lenders how to avoid discrimination aggainst minorities, women and disadvantaged neighborhoods. The publication reviews the history of red-lining and other forms of discrimination and shows lenders and community groups how to analyze loan decisions.
There are tables for 25 sample cases showing loan-to-value ratios, debt-service ratios, housing payment ratios, length of mortgage, private insurance or not, interest rates, points and the lender's decision. A reader scanningg such tables can spot inconsistencies in lending practices.
Two or more cases of disparate treatment out of the sample would indicate a high probability of discrimination, according to the authors.The manual was written by Zina G. Greene, former director of civil rights for the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency, and Arthur J. Levin, executive vice president of the Potomac Institute. Copies are available at $3 each from the institute, 1501 18th St. NW, Washington 20036.