The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) has announced that it is awarding more than $38 million under HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) to more than 100 groups across the nation to fight housing discrimination. The funding provided through the competitive grants will help to support a range of fair housing enforcement efforts, including fair housing testing, as well as activities that help educate the public, housing providers and local governments about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.
“Combating housing discrimination requires the aggressive enforcement of the nation’s fair housing laws, but HUD can’t do it alone,” said HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Gustavo Velasquez. “The funding we are announcing today will enable organizations committed to justice and equality to support our efforts to ensure that everyone has equal access to available housing opportunities.”
The categories of grant awards are:
►Private Enforcement Initiative grants (PEI): These awards help non-profit fair housing enforcement organizations carry out investigations and other enforcement activities to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices.
►Education and Outreach Initiative grants (EOI): HUD awards these grants to groups that educate the public and housing providers about their rights and responsibilities under federal law or state and local fair housing laws that are substantially equivalent to the Fair Housing Act.
►Fair Housing Organizations Initiative grants (FHOI): HUD awards these grants to help build the capacity and effectiveness of non-profit fair housing organizations to continue and enhance enforcement of the Fair Housing Act.
The 2015 FHIP Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) established the following six new components:
Under Fair Housing Organizations Initiative grants:
►Special Emphasis Component: This grant will strengthen the enforcement activities and capacity building efforts of organizations and help them pursue cases that investigate systemic patterns of discrimination.
►National/Regional Testing Component: This grant will enable organizations to develop and support a national/regional testing program to identify discrimination in rental and sales transactions.
Under Education and Outreach Initiative grants:
►National Programs Component–Sex Discrimination: This grant will enable organizations to conduct education and outreach projects that counter sex discrimination in housing, including domestic violence, sexual harassment, gender stereotyping or discrimination based on gender identity.
►National Programs Component–Sex/Familial Status Discrimination: This grant will enable organizations to conduct education and outreach projects that focus on one or more forms of sex or familial status discrimination.
►National Programs Component–National Origin Discrimination: This grant will enable organizations to address one or more forms of national origin discrimination in rental, sales, or lending.
►National Programs Component–Disability Discrimination:This grant will enable organizations, using the results of recent discrimination studies, to conduct education and outreach activities that address discrimination based on disability, particularly discrimination experienced by individuals with mobility impairments, hearing impairments, and cognitive or mental disabilities.