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September 25, 2013
HUD AWARDS TOTAL OF $1.4 MILLION TO COMBAT HOUSING DISCRIMINATION IN IDAHO, OREGON & WASHINGTON STATE
Authorities can hire or retain service coordinators "connecting" residents to economic opportunities
SEATTLE - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded a total of $1,424,629 to four fair housing organizations in Idaho, Oregon and Washington to support their efforts to reduce housing discrimination. The awards were part of $38.4 million allocated by to 95 Fair Housing Initiative Program grantees in 38 states and the District of Columbia.
The Intermountain Fair Housing Council in Boise was awarded $324,630 to support a statewide investigation, enforcement and education efforts. The Fair Housing Council of Oregon in Portland was awarded two grants - $125,000 for education and outreach and $325,000 for its private enforcement initiative. The Fair Housing Center of Washington in Tacoma was awarded $325,000 for its private enforcement initiative. The Northwest Fair Housing Alliance in Spokane was awarded $324,999 to support its efforts to combat lender discrimination. (See more detailed activity summaries below)
Funded through HUD's Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP), these grants will help enforce the Fair Housing Act through investigation and testing of alleged discriminatory practices. In addition, the funds will educate housing providers, local governments and potential victims of housing discrimination about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.
"Ending housing discrimination requires that we support the law of the land and protect the housing rights of individuals and families who would be denied those rights," stated HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "Ensuring and promoting Fair Housing practices lies at the core of HUD's mission and these grants enable community groups all over the nation to help families who are denied equal access to housing."
"Everyone should have access to the neighborhoods and homes for which they financially qualify," added Bryan Greene, HUD Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "These grants make it possible for non-profits to assist people in their communities pursue their fair housing rights and educate housing providers and others about their responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act."
The categories of grants awarded today are:
- Private Enforcement Initiative grants (PEI) - HUD awarded $24.7 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 $3.8 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 $9.8 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.
The activities of the fair housing organizations in Idaho, Oregon and Washington include the following:
- Intermountain Fair Housing Council, Boise - Will use its grant to provide a statewide full-service fair housing enforcement program designed to address systemic housing issues across agencies and industries focused on home-seekers who are low-income rural, recent immigrants, persons with disabilities, and single female heads-of-households with children. IFHC will provide a full-spectrum of fair housing services. 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 and events with community organizations or faith based organizations.
- Fair Housing Center of Oregon, Portland - Will use its $325,000 grant to conduct a full service fair housing enforcement-related project throughout Oregon and SW Washington State, serving housing providers, housing consumers (in particular those with limited English proficiency, people with disabilities, and the homeless), and advocates serving the targeted consumer populations and use its $125,000 grant to enhance its ongoing affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH) training for publicly funded Oregon entities. Specifically, FHCO will assist federal funding recipients by providing technical assistance workshops and on-going individual technical assistance, and analytical tools and existing data to identify and address segregation.
- Northwest Fair Housing Alliance, Spokane - Will use its $325,000 grant to build upon its recently enhanced capacity to provide comprehensive fair lending services. Specifically, NWFHA will leverage these funds to conduct fair lending intake and email, phone, and site follow-up tests for discriminatory underwriting policies; investigate mortgage modification scams and conduct systemic investigations to identify redlining and data origination and denial disparity practices for loans for protected classes, as well as refer fair lending and mortgage modification scam complaints to HUD and the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions and continue advocacy for ongoing complaints. NWFHA further will hold fair lending trainings for mortgage originators; and modify an online fair housing curriculum approved for mortgage lenders.
- Fair Housing Center of Washington, Tacoma - Will use its $325,000 grant to contribute to HUD's core goals and policy priorities. The organization's activities will include: intake, investigation and filing of housing discrimination complaints; assisting with reasonable accommodation/ modification requests; recruiting testers and conducting tests; conducting systemic audits. The Center will also provide fair housing education and outreach to faith- and community-based homeless shelters and new immigrants, and training to housing consumers and providers. It will produce written materials in multiple languages, conduct trainings at an annual conference and develop webcast training for elected officials and key planning/policy staff; hold an annual fair housing summit for Region X HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program Qualified Fair Housing Organizations; collaborate on a Fair Housing Month conference, prepare a statewide newsletter, and conduct other fair housing events.
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 (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.