The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) has launched the first housing discrimination mobile application (app) for iPhone and iPad. Developed by HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) and HP, the app uses the latest technology to provide the public with a quick and easy way to learn about their housing rights and to file housing discrimination complaints, and inform the housing industry about its responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.
The app will also be an important tool to assist fair housing groups and other civil rights advocacy organizations in their efforts to help individuals pursue their housing rights and industry to educate their members on their responsibilities. Several groups indicated their intent to promote the app with their members and in communities where they work, including MomsRising, Illinois Department of Human Rights, Access Living, League of United Latin American Citizens, Asian Real Estate Association of America, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, National Association of Real Estate Brokers, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
“Having this first fair housing mobile application equips people everywhere with the information they need to combat housing discrimination,” said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “We are maximizing the latest technology to make the process for filing fair housing complaints faster and easier and arming our fair housing partners with the information they need to understand their fair housing rights and responsibilities.”
HUD’s new fair housing app was unveiled during the 3rd Annual MobileGov Summit in Washington, DC, a conference which brings government and industry IT leaders together to discuss the latest trends and best practices for creating the next generation mobile government workforce.
“HUD needed an efficient and reliable solution to quickly extend existing capabilities to mobile computing devices,” said Marilyn Crouther, senior vice president and general manager, U.S. Public Sector, HP Enterprise Services. “The new HP application achieves operational goals of HUD - from concept to deployment – while more effectively addressing discrimination complaints. The mobile app simplifies and increases access to government services for people.”
In addition to facilitating real-time delivery of housing discrimination complaints to HUD, the app can be used by individuals researching their housing rights after a natural disaster, when power outages make the iPhone/iPad one of the few ways to access the Internet.
The app also provides information about the fair housing complaint process, and allows the public to access HUD’s toll-free discrimination hotline and link to HUD’s fair housing website.
In conjunction with the fair housing mobile application, FHEO has released HTML 5 adaptive mobile pages, which are in English and Spanish and allow web content to display properly regardless of the brand of smartphone or tablet being used. In addition, the adaptive mobile pages allow individuals to complete and submit the fair housing complaint form in Spanish. FHEO also plans to design a “Quick Response code” ad campaign, directing mobile users to the new adaptive pages.