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HUD Awards $17.6 Million in Grants
to Help Fight Housing Discrimination

[Photo: Dr. Kenneth Morgan of The American Environmental Services Project receives an $80,000 check.]

Two Maryland groups receive more than $260,000

Baltimore - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today awarded $17.6 million in grants to 106 groups to help them fight housing discrimination, including $262,468.80 to two Baltimore groups.

The grants, funded under HUD's Fair Housing Initiatives Program, will go to public and private fair housing groups and state and local agencies across the country. These groups will use the funds to investigate allegations of housing discrimination, educate the housing industry and public about housing discrimination laws, and work to promote fair housing.

"Today's announcement reinforces the Bush Administration's continued commitment to ensuring that communities across America are free of discrimination," said Jackson. "These grants will provide communities with a variety of education initiatives aimed at promoting fair housing."

The grants are allocated as follows:

Baltimore Neighborhood, Inc. Private Enforcement Initiative- $182,468.80

During an 18-month period, Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc. (BNI) plans to conduct a fair housing enforcement program in Baltimore City and in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Harford, Howard, and Washington Counties. BNI will conduct testing programs that include both sales and rental testing, along with investigations regarding compliance with accessibility provisions at new construction sites. BNI will work with private and public housing organizations, Hispanic, African-American organizations that have minority memberships, and government housing agencies. For example, the Fair Housing Information Clearing House is poised to become a primary source of materials relevant to this project. BNI has been serving its community since 2001, and will continue under this project to assist individuals who are members of the protected groups under the Federal Fair Housing Act and victims of discrimination in housing. However, BNI's services are available at no cost to everyone in the Baltimore.

American Environmental Justice Project Education and Outreach Initiative/General Component- $80,000

The American Environmental Justice Project (AEJP), one of the largest and most comprehensive central Maryland civil rights organizations, will conduct education and outreach on predatory lending and other forms of housing discrimination in Baltimore city and Howard, Prince George's, and Baltimore Counties. Its activities will include outreach presentations, mailings, and operating a telephone hotline to receive allegations of predatory lending. Additionally, AEJP will conduct research and analysis of conventional and sub-prime lending in the area to detect evidence of redlining and reverse redlining of certain neighborhoods. Moderate- and low-income individuals and families, immigrant populations and people with limited English proficiency will receive services. Acorn Fair Housing Organization, along with several other local agencies, will collaborate in this 12-month initiative.

Private Enforcement Initiative - About $11.8 million was awarded for 12 to18 month grants of up to $220,000 to assist private, tax-exempt fair housing enforcement organizations in the investigation and enforcement of alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act and substantially equivalent State and local fair housing laws.

Education and Outreach Initiative - About $3.7 million was allocated for one-year grants of up to $100,000 to inform and educate the public about the rights and obligations under federal, state and local fair housing laws. About $500,000 of the grant money, which went to seven groups, is specifically going to programs that have a special focus on the fair housing needs of persons with disabilities, so that housing providers, the general public, and persons with disabilities themselves better understand their rights and obligations.

The winners were chosen based on the soundness of approach, the extent of the problem, the capacity and experience of the applicant, demonstration of results, program evaluation, and the leveraging of other resources.

Additionally, some of the grants will address sophisticated and subtle forms of discrimination through paired testing as well as other investigative tools. HUD gave special emphasis to grant applications that target under-served populations, such as rural residents and immigrants, especially non-English speaking racial and ethnic minorities.

The Fair Housing Act bars housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, family status and national origin. The Act covers the sale, rental, financing and advertising of almost all housing in the nation. Fair housing investigations are conducted by HUD investigators, state and city agencies working with HUD, and private fair housing groups that receive HUD funds.

Anyone who believes they have experienced housing discrimination is asked to call HUD's Housing Discrimination Hotline at 1-800-669-9777, TDD 1-800-927-9275. They can also visit HUD's fair housing website at www.hud.gov/fairhousing.

HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws.

Content Archived: February 15, 2011

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