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May 9, 2012
FOUR NORTHWEST HOUSING ORGANIZATIONS WIN $2.2 MILLION IN HUD GRANTS TO COMBAT HOUSING DISCRIMINATION
SEATTLE - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today competitively awarded a total of $2,199,629.99 to four fair housing organizations in Idaho, Oregon and Washington to assist people who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination.
The Fair Housing Council of Washington in Tacoma was awarded one $325,000 in HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program funds, the Northwest Fair Housing Alliance in Spokane was awarded two grants totaling $449,999.95, the Fair Housing Council of Oregon in Portland was awarded four grants totaling $1.1 million and Intermountain Fair Housing in Boise was awarded one grant for $324,630. (Please see project summaries below).
Today's awards were among almost $41.2 million awarded today by HUD to 99 fair housing organizations in35 states and the District of Columbia. HUD received applications for more than $70 million in FHIP funding in this year's competition.
"We are pleased to provide the only federal grant support to private fair housing enforcement and education," said HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity John Trasviña. "Our local partners are essential to ending housing discrimination."
The competitive grants are funded through HUD's Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP), and are part of nearly $41.18 million distributed nationwide to 99 fair housing organizations and other non-profit agencies in 35 states and the District of Columbia. The grants will be used to enforce the Fair Housing Act through investigation and testing of alleged discriminatory practices, and to educate housing providers, local governments and potential victims of housing discrimination about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act. HUD had over $70 million in requests for FHIP, but funded only $41 million.
Under the FHIP programs, HUD awards grants in the following categories:
- Private Enforcement Initiative grants (PEI) - HUD awarded $30 million to help local non-profit fair housing organizations carry out testing and enforcement activities to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices.
- Education and Outreach Initiative grants (EOI) - HUD awarded $5.9 million to groups that educate the public and housing providers about their rights and responsibilities under federal, state, and local fair housing laws.
- Fair Housing Organizations Initiative (FHOI) - HUD awarded $5.25 million to help build the capacity and effectiveness of non-profit fair housing organizations, particularly organizations that focus on the rights and needs of underserved groups, such as rural and immigrant populations.
Activities to be undertaking by Northwest fair housing organizations winning grants today include:
The Intermountain Fair Housing Council, based in Boise, will use its multi-year, $324,630 Private Enforcement Initiative Grant to provide a statewide, full-service fair housing enforcement program designed to address systemic housing issues across agencies and industries; focused on low-income rural, recent immigrants, persons with disabilities, and single female heads-of-households with children; and provide a full-spectrum of fair housing services to all protected persons. Fair housing investigation and enforcement activities will include systemic investigations and site design and construction assessments. Education activities will include education to housing providers and refugee/immigrant households; radio and cable TV fair housing programs in Spanish; events with community organizations or faith based organizations; outreach to rural home-seekers, immigrants.
The Fair Housing Council of Oregon, based in Portland, was awarded four FHIP grants. It will use a $325,000 Private Enforcement Initiative grant to serve housing providers, housing consumers (in particular those with limited English proficiency, people with disabilities, and the homeless) as well as advocates serving the targeted consumer populations. Activities will include: identifying, investigating and referring alleged fair housing violations to HUD; continued development and expanding current testing program to incorporate mortgage lending and homeowner's insurance testing; developing, promoting, and delivering five enforcement excursions to various locations around the state of Oregon to provide information and fair housing complaint intake; increasing housing choice for protected class groups through identification of systemic discrimination in mortgage lending and through the construction of new multifamily housing; and providing fair housing information to non-English speaking.
The Fair Housing Council of Oregon will use a $125,000 Education and Outreach grant to affirmatively further fair housing in Oregon. Activities will include: fair housing trainings for housing consumers and housing and social service providers; attendance at local community meetings to learn about regional fair housing issues; revision of fair housing reasonable accommodation materials for medical and therapeutic professionals; an affirmatively furthering fair housing summit for CDBG recipients, relevant governmental entities, fair housing advocacy organizations, attorneys, and qualified fair housing organization staff; translation (Russian and Spanish) of technical assistance for common housing transaction forms with posting to FHCO's website; educational tours and seminars for students/educators, housing providers, public housing residents, and the general public about housing discrimination in Oregon and its impact on fair housing today.
The Fair Housing Council of Oregon will use a $325,000 Fair Housing Organization Initiative-Lending grant to perform a full service fair housing/fair lending enforcement-related project throughout Oregon and SW Washington State that will serve housing consumers (in particular those with limited English proficiency, people with disabilities, and the homeless), advocates serving the targeted consumer populations, and housing providers. Activities will include: expanding systemic identification, investigation, and referral of fair lending violations to HUD; identifying, investigating, and referring alleged fair lending violations to HUD; identifying systemic discrimination in mortgage-lending; and providing fair lending information to non-English speaking consumers.
Finally, the Fair Housing Council of Oregon will use a $325,000 Fair Housing Organization Initiative-Continued Development grant to perform a systemic fair housing enforcement-related project designed to identify systemic issues of segregation throughout Oregon and SW Washington State over an 18-month period in support of HUD's strategic goals and policy priorities. Activities during the term of this grant will include: investigating systemic fair housing violations; filing at least 15 complaints of housing discrimination; holding at least 1 tester-training session for new testers and holding a Fair Housing Litigation Seminar for legal, advocacy, and mutual benefit groups targeting those who represent underserved communities. The organization will also: promote and augment a pool of private attorneys capable of providing legal services on fair housing cases; identify case law and nationally best known methods to enhance enforcement options, mediation opportunities, and voluntary compliance with statutory requirements; review hotline and enforcement logs to identify five localities to visit and perform enforcement activities, and complete other enforcement activities essential to eliminating discriminatory practices.
The Fair Housing Center of Washington, based in Tacoma, will use a $325,000 Private Enforcement Initiative grant for activities including intake, investigation and filing of housing discrimination complaints; assisting with reasonable accommodation/ modification requests; recruiting testers and conducting tests; conducting systemic audits; providing fair housing education and outreach to faith- and community-based homeless shelters and new immigrants, and training to housing consumers and providers; producing written materials in multiple languages, conducting trainings at an annual conference and developing webcast training for elected officials and key planning/policy staff; holding an annual fair housing summit for Region X FHIP Qualified Fair Housing Organizations; collaborating on a Fair Housing Month conference, a statewide newsletter, and other fair housing events.
The Northwest Fair Housing Alliance, based in Spokane, was awarded two FHIP grants today. The Alliance will use its $124,900 Education and Outreach-Lending grant to expand its Fair Lending Unit education and outreach efforts with activities including presenting an updated community awareness curriculum at workshops for partners to increase regional capacity to identify and address unfair lending discrimination and make complaint referrals to NWFHA for investigation; providing fair lending trainings for mortgage loan originators; developing a fair lending curriculum for realtors for Washington DOL approval; modifying existing Washington DOL approved live fair housing curriculum for distance learning delivery; distributing fair lending and mortgage rescue scam avoidance materials; updating brochures and the organization's website; and undertaking a public service announcement campaign, producing and airing 3, 30-second fair lending education television commercials.
The Northwest Fair Housing Alliance will use its $325,000 Private Enforcement Initiative to provide services to all protected classes in 17 counties of eastern and central Washington through outreach, counseling, intake, complaint referral to HUD and onsite paired rental, sales, and lending testing. NWFHA will conduct specific programs for underserved or frequently targeted populations of housing discrimination: a familial status rental audit (paired onsite rental tests); telephone accent tests and onsite national origin rental audit tests; on site race rental audit tests; TTY telephone rental tests and onsite accessibility audits. In addition, NWFHA will request reasonable accommodations. education.
FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate more than 9,300 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 (voice), or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on Twitter at @HUDnews or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.