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Congressional Justifications for 1998 Budget Estimates

Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
Fair Housing Initiatives Program

Program Highlights


Increase +
Decrease -
1998 vs 1997
(Dollars in Thousands)
Program Level:

Private Enforcement Initiative:

Number of Awards...
7 30 43 27 -16
$4,072 $12,500 $18,428 $14,880 -$3,548
Education and Outreach Initiative:

Number of Awards...
9 18 14 25 +11
$1,675 $2,800 $2,125 $7,170 +$5,045
Administrative Enforcement Initiative:

Number of Awards...
... ... ... ... ...
... ... ... ... ...
Fair Housing Organizations Initiative:

Number of Awards...
14 10 11 6 -5
$3,074 $2,700 $2,948 $1,950 -$998
Total Obligations...
8,821 18,000 23,501 24,000 +499
Appropriation (Budget Authority):

Enacted or Proposed...
17,000 18,000 15,000 24,000 +9,000
Budget Outlays...
23,818 18,501 18,286 14,293 -3,993

Summary of Budget Estimates

  1. Summary of Budget Request

    The 1998 Budget request for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) is $24 million.

    The 1998 funds will support the Secretary's commitment to fair housing and provide resources to implement those fair housing initiatives authorized under the Housing and Community Development (HCD) Act of 1987, as amended by the HCD Act of 1992.

    The Budget also proposes a 1998 appropriation of $15 million for the Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) which is described in a separate Justification. The total funding requested for both programs in 1998 is $39 million. Together, these two programs form a national comprehensive fair housing strategy against housing discrimination based upon greater cooperation between the public and the private sectors.

  2. Changes from 1996 Estimates Included in the 1997 Budget

    The 1997 Budget estimated fiscal year 1996 obligations at $30 million. Actual obligations were $8.8 million. The $21.2 million difference is due to the combination of: (1) the $13 million reduction in the 1996 appropriation and (2) the substantial delay in receiving the 1996 appropriation, which resulted in an $8.5 million carryover to fiscal year 1997.

    Outlays were estimated at $16.4 million. Actual outlays for fiscal year 1996 were $7.4 million greater than estimated or $23.8 million. The increased level of outlays is primarily due to obligations being liquidated at a greater rate than anticipated and partially reflects the delay in liquidations experienced in fiscal year 1995.

  3. Changes from 1997 Budget Estimates

    The estimate of obligations in fiscal year 1997 has been increased to $23.5 million. This $5.5 million increase is due to the net effect of: (1) obligating the $8.5 million carryover from the 1996 appropriation and (2) receiving $3 million less than requested for fiscal year 1996.

    Outlays are expected to be $18.3 million, no substantial change from the 1997 Budget.

Explanation of Increases and Decreases

The 1998 Budget request of $24 million represents an increase of $9 million above the 1997 appropriation of $15 million. The Department intends to use a portion of this increase, $5.4 million, toward expanded funding of the Educational and Outreach Initiative. Additionally, the Private Enforcement initiative will reflect an increase of $4.4 million. However, the Fair Housing Organizations Initiative will decrease by $750,000 and the Administrative Enforcement Initiative will not be funded. The following is a description of the 1998 funding requests.

From the 1998 appropriation request of $24 million, $14.9 million will be used under the Private Enforcement Initiative to fund 26 organizations at an average of $500 thousand per organization. Where applicable, awards will provide funding for the completion of 2- to 3-year projects.

A total of $7.2 million is requested to carry out Education and Outreach Initiative activities in 1998. This will fund approximately 28 regional, local and community-based education and outreach projects, including support of 15 projects for approximately $300,000 each to continue a small pilot effort begun in fiscal year 1997, the Community Tensions Initiative. These 2 year projects are intended to involve local fair housing organizations, community groups and local governmental agencies in grassroots efforts to resolve community tensions which arise when persons protected under the Fair Housing Act seek to expand their housing choices. This initiative also will fund other projects to educate the public about their fair housing rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act, including 8 other regional, local and community-based projects at approximately $200,000 each and two projects at the national level, including observance of National Fair Housing Month, for approximately $500,000 per award.

The Fair Housing Organizations Initiative provides funds for the continued development of existing organizations and the establishment of new organizations in currently underserved areas. The 1998 Budget request includes $2 million under this initiative to fund approximately three newly established organizations engaging in 2-year projects and organizations carrying out 18 month projects to enhance their enforcement capacity.

Outlays are expected to decrease by $4 million as a result of decreasing appropriations in the last 2 years.

Program Description and Activity

  1. Legislative Authority. Section 561 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1987, as amended, authorizes the execution of grants, contracts, or coopevx ive agreements with State or local government agencies, public or private nonprofit organizations, institutions or other entities that are formulating or carrying out programs to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices. FHIP supports projects and activities designed to enhance compliance with the Fair Housing Act and substantially equivalent State and local laws. Section 905 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 expanded the provisions of the Fair Housing Initiatives Program to: build the capacity of fair housing organizations in unserved and underserved areas; establish a national media campaign for dissemination of fair housing information; and to establish funding for an annual celebration of National Fair Housing Month.

    FHIP is a critical component in the Department's effort to address fair housing education, enforcement and compliance. The other principal component of the Department's comprehensive fair housing strategy is the Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP), authorized by the Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988). That program, for which the Budget proposes a $15 million funding level in 1998, is described separately in this volume.

    The Fair Housing Initiatives Program was established by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1987 for the purpose of eliminating and preventing housing discrimination. This program provides a coordinated approach to: (1) further the purposes of the Fair Housing Act; (2) guarantee the rights of all people to seek housing in an open market free of discrimination; and (3) inform the public and the housing industry of its rights and obligations under the Fair Housing Act. FHIP also enhances and facilitates the delivery of the Department's housing and community development programs, such as HOME and Community Development Block Grants, by providing a free and open housing market.

  2. Purpose. The Fair Housing Initiatives Program is intended to supplement and enhance current fair housing enforcement activities of the Department. These activities include programs of enforcement, voluntary compliance, and education and outreach. FHIP provides the financial means to assist projects and activities designed to enhance compliance with the Fair Housing Act and substantially equivalent State and local laws.

  3. Program Components. There are four major program components under the Fair Housing Initiatives Program. All components except the Administrative Enforcement Initiative are proposed for funding in fiscal year 1998. Together, these components support public and private enforcement, education and outreach activities, and capacity building for fair housing enforcement organizations.

    1. The Private Enforcement Initiative. The proposed level of funding for this major component of FHIP is $14.9 million in fiscal year 1998. Under this component, financial resources are provided to: (a) carry out testing and other investigative activities; (b) discover and remedy discrimination in public and private real estate markets and real estate-related transactions; (c) develop special projects to respond to new and sophisticated forms of discriminatory housing conduct; and (d) provide funds for the costs of litigation and expert witness fees.

    2. The Education and Outreach Initiative. A funding level of $7.2 million is requested for this component of FHIP for fiscal year 1998. Under this component, resources will be used for three specific activities: (a) national education and outreach projects designed to provide a centralized, coordinated effort for the development and dissemination of media products, pamphlets, and brochures, including observance of National Fair Housing Month; (b) regional, local and community-based education and outreach projects to address community tensions which communities face as residents attempt to exercise their fair housing rights to expanded housing choices, and (c) regional, local and community-based education and outreach projects developed and implemented by organizations to enhance compliance with the Act and substantially equivalent fair housing laws and ordinances.

    3. The Administrative Enforcement Initiative. No funds are being requested under this initiative for fiscal year 1998 due to the limited amount of funds available under the Fair Housing Initiatives Program and because eligible applicants under the Administrative Enforcement Initiative receive support for case processing activities under the Fair Housing Assistance Program.

    4. The Fair Housing Organizations Initiative. The 1998 Budget request for this component of the FHIP is $2 million. Funding will be provided to establish new fair housing enforcement organizations and to support the continued existence of fair housing organizations building their capacity in enforcing the rights granted under the Act.

Program Highlights and Accomplishments

  1. Private Enforcement Initiative. Under this Initiative, private groups were funded to support testing projects used to conduct systemic investigations and testing of individual complaints for judicial and administrative enforcement. Tests have been conducted in the rental, sales, mortgage lending and insurance markets. Under this initiative, fair housing organizations are now working together regionally to enforce the fair housing laws. Additionally, funds from this initiative are used for legal fees in support of fair housing litigation.

  2. Education and Outreach Initiative. Under the Education and Outreach Initiative, educational materials, pamphlets, brochures, print ads, posters, and videos concerning fair housing have been developed and distributed in many languages. Recently, colleges and universities have successfully competed for funds. A registry of accessible housing units has been developed for the use of the community of individuals with disabilities on the East Coast. This housing registry can be duplicated by other agencies. FHIP funds under this initiative have been instrumental in providing fair housing training for the housing industry, as well as private attorneys, and the general public.

  3. Administrative Enforcement Initiative. This initiative has not been funded since fiscal year 1995. Certified Fair Housing Enforcement agencies have carried out enforcement projects in fiscal year 1995 to improve their capacity to conduct systemic investigations in such areas as mortgage lending and discriminatory housing practices based on family status and handicap; and providing fair housing services in remote, non-metropolitan areas.

  4. Fair Housing Organizations Initiative. Since the first competition in 1994, 20 organizations have been funded to create and establish 26 new fair housing enforcement organizations in areas that have been identified as underserved or unserved in fair housing services. Recent competitions, in fiscal years 1996 and 1997, have funded the continued support of these new groups. Additionally, another 34 existing organizations have been funded to enhance their fair housing enforcement activities.

Status of Funds

  1. Authorization. Authorization is available to fund the appropriation.
  2. Balances available
    1. Unobligated Balances. The following table compares program obligations with funds available by year:

      (Dollars in Thousands)
      Obligated balance, start of year...
      $322 $8,501 ...
      17,000 15,000 $24,000
      Recovery of prior year obligation...
      34 ... ...
      17,356 23,501 24,000
      -8,855 -23,501 -24,000
      Unobligated balance, end of year...
      8,501 ... ...

    2. Obligated Balances. The status of obligated balances is as follows:

      (Dollars in Thousands)
      Obligated balance, start of year...
      $37,261 $22,181 $27,396
      Obligations incurred...
      8,855 23,501 24,000
      46,116 45,682 51,396
      -23,818 -18,286 -14,293
      Adjustments in expired accounts...
      -83 ... ...
      Adjustments in unexpired accounts...
      -34 ... ...
      Obligated balance, end of year...
      22,181 27,396 37,103

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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