HUD grants $40 million for Fair Housing initiatives
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced it is apportioning $40 million to fair housing organizations throughout the U.S. to combat violations of the Fair Housing Act.
These grants are being distributed through HUD’s Fair Housing Initiative Program and the Fair Housing Assistance Program and are designated to help people who believe they’ve been victimized by housing discrimination.
Part of the funding will also go toward education programs for both the general public and housing providers about the nation’s fair housing laws.
A little more than $1 million of that money is being given to organizations located in qualified opportunity zones that were created in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, with the intent to incentivize investment in the long-term in low-income communities.
“HUD is committed to supporting efforts to rid discrimination from our society,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement. “The grants we are awarding … will enable our fair housing partner organizations to combat unlawful policies and behavior and foster practices that ensure everyone has access to safe, affordable housing, free from discrimination.”
These grants will be used by the fair housing groups to file fair housing complaints with HUD, conduct investigations into potential claims, and to provide testing in the rental and sales market to ensure fair housing enforcement is taking place.
“Given the economic circumstances many Americans may face (because of the COVID_19 pandemic, we) commend HUD and Secretary Carson for taking steps to quickly put money in the hands of nonprofit organizations defending those who could face the brunt of this economic disruption,” said Vince Malta, President of the National Association of REALTORS® and a broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco, CA. “Emerging from challenging times stronger and more resolved will require countless Americans to step up and do what they can to help those in need, and we thank HUD for taking swift, decisive action today to help put us on that path.”
The FHIP grants issued are provided under HUD’s:
- Private Enforcement Initiative grants – to help investigations and other enforcement activities to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices.
- Education and Outreach Initiative grants – to educate the public and housing providers about the rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.
- Fair Housing Organizations Initiative grants – to build the efficacy of non-profit fair housing organizations to continue to enforce the Fair Housing Act.
According to the HUD press release, these grants help Qualified Fair Housing Enforcement Organizations, Fair Housing Enforcement Organizations, public and private non-profit organizations or institutions, and other public or private entities whose enforcement, education, and outreach activities help to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices.
HUD is also awarding $1.5 million in Partnership Funds to HUD Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) agencies. FHAP organizations are state and local government agencies that enforce local fair housing laws that are substantially equivalent to the Fair Housing Act.