INDIANAPOLIS — A bill protecting homeowners from discrimination in the housing market died in the Indiana House Wednesday without a hearing.
One woman who experienced bias while trying to sell her home said it is a loss for all Hoosiers.
Carlette Duffy still gets emotional when she thinks about the lengths she had to go to get a fair appraisal on her home last year, a home located in a historically Black neighborhood just outside of downtown Indianapolis.
"I whitewashed my home. I basically removed everything, to me, that represented my culture, my Blackness," said Duffy.
She did so after her first two appraisals came back low. The first was $125,000. Months later, her second appraisal came back even lower, $110,000.
The real game-changer was when she asked the white husband of a friend to sit in on the appraiser's visit, and her appraisal skyrocketed to $259,000.
"It was me. The only thing bringing down my value in my home was me. It was a slap in the face to know that you can do everything society tells you to do to pull up your bootstraps. You can work hard and build your life into something that is more, that is better, only for you to find it's an illusion," said Duffy.
House Bill 1326 would have helped protect homeowners like Duffy from discrimination in home appraisals and lending. It died Wednesday without even being heard.
Duffy said it hurts the entire community.
"Just think about what the property value of your home does for your community. It pays for your schools. It pays for services in your community that improve the quality of life," Duffy said.
In a statement to 13News, the author of the bill, Rep.Cherrish Pryor, D-District 94, said she was disappointed it never received a hearing and that Hoosiers deserve more:
"I’m disappointed House Bill 1326 never received a hearing, especially in light of what is happening in the housing space right now. While the bill is now considered dead because it did not receive a hearing by the committee report deadline, I will continue to work towards equitable housing policies throughout the remainder of session and after we adjourn. I plan to focus on calling for the General Assembly to create a task force that will take a comprehensive look at our state’s housing issues, including the lasting effects of housing discrimination and shortfalls in affordability and supply."
It seems that my bill, and many others, did not receive a hearing because improving lives of Hoosiers through policies that support human infrastructure doesn’t appear to be a priority to the supermajority. Republicans in the General Assembly are more concerned with prioritizing corporations instead of people. Hoosiers deserve a government that works for them - we are not seeing much of that in the 2022 session."
"It hurts all of us. If I don't have value in my home, it affects everyone on my block, the next block, and the next block, and eventually, it's going to get to your block," said Duffy.
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