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HUD Customer Satisfaction Report

Chapter 2 - Fair Housing and Equal Opportunities

"Ensuring Fair Housing Through All HUD Does"

  • Enforcing Fair Housing Laws
  • Promoting Fairness in the Mortgage Marketplace
  • Promoting Fair Housing at the Local Level

We Are Measuring Customer Satisfaction

FHEO has obtained the services of a contractor to survey customers for all FHEO programs. This will involve reviewing each program and determining the tasks required to complete each survey and the associated cost analysis for each program area. A surve y design and questionnaire will be developed for all programs. All FHEO customers will be surveyed at least once during this process.

In the first completed survey, statistically significant samples of the Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) were selected for analysis. The first sample involved State and local agencies (our partners) and the second sample included 350 Complainants from closed Fair Housing Act discrimination cases (the cus tomers of both the FHAP Partners and HUD).

FHAP customers (complainants) are those individuals who have filed a complaint against a landlord, rental agency, or other party (respondent) charging discrimination. FHAP partners are defined as those State and local agencies that are certified as "substantially equivalent" based on an interim agreement or Memorandum of Understanding.

At the time this survey was completed, there were 65 substantially equivalent partners with 36 others seeking certification. Our partners, by telephone, were interviewed regarding their level of satisfaction with the following aspects of FHEO services:

  • Certification Processing
  • Grant Administration
  • Technical Assistance
  • Policy Guidance
  • Complaint processing

Complainants, interviewed by telephone, were questioned regarding their overall satisfaction with the fair housing complaint process including their expectations, treatment and the settlement of the case.

Our Customer Service Standards Are About The Things
That Matter Most to Our Customers

The customer service standards developed by FHEO were designed with the concerns of the customers in mind. Numerous success stories are on file and available upon request. These success stories show that our customer service standards consider the inter ests and needs of the general public, as well as our partners.

Results Are Reported to Our Customers

Results of our customer service survey(s) will be prepared and stored at the FHEO Clearinghouse for distribution to our partners as well as the general public.

Changes Made/Changes Planned

Modifications have been made with respect to the way that FHEO Headquarters relates to State and local agencies. This is attributable to the Customer Service Standards adopted by FHEO for this program. Additional changes were made concerning how complai nts are handled and the timing of responses to customer-driven issues.

Also, various operational changes have been made by Field Office staff based upon their conversations and work relationship with the general public (their customers) as well as their partners (State and local agencies and City and State governments), as f ollows:

  • Revised procedures to become more customer friendly. Heightened emphasis to staff that they be customer-oriented (patient, non-adversarial);

  • Monitored telephone response time and the manner of the response to the customer;

  • Designed a letter that will accompany the formal complaint notification that explains process in laymen�s terms;

  • Investigated and took appropriate action on customer complaints;

  • Coordinated and communicated with other program areas to better serve mutual customers;

  • Held training sessions to cover various subjects such as conciliation, intake, analyzing and conducting an investigation, and writing the final report to allow the customer to better measure the service given;

  • Issued a circular letter to CPD clients to educate them on fair housing initiatives such as affirmatively furthering fair housing and conducting an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing;

  • Developed general program procurement guides and provided training to customers and program staff;

  • Developed an automated tracking system to supply the Office of Housing and mortgage lenders with information on builders who have approved Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plans or;

  • Formed a partnership with various cities, PHAs and the National Carpenter�s Union to create apprenticeship opportunities for low income citizens;

  • Enhanced relationships with private fair housing organizations and fair housing advocates so that complaints can be handled in a timely manner;

  • Conducted monthly fair housing training sessions for housing providers who were respondents to fair housing complaints and who resolved those complaints through conciliation agreements;

  • Conducted workshop to promote local partnerships to further fair housing among fair housing groups, non-profits, private housing providers, advocate groups and other community resources;

  • Screened potential complaints so that customers� concerns not related to fair housing statutes were referred to the appropriate resource;

  • Worked with CPD to participate in a multi-discipline team at the first citizen participation hearings for the Consolidated Plan;

  • Participated with the Office of Public Housing in conducting a Section 504 survey of all public housing authorities to determine what efforts have been made to comply with Section 504 and to identify any specific training needs in this area;

  • Coordinated a three day environmental training session with staff, tribal leaders, out side agency staff and PHA personnel. In-depth, on-site environmental training provided in all program areas served by the State office;

  • Improved voice mail service by providing customers with an explanation and apology for the delay in response time; and

  • Conducted symposium that provided clients with training, instruction and technical assistance in affirmatively furthering fair housing; fair housing planning; analysis of impediments to fair hosing choices and Section 3.

Success Stories

FHEO Headquarters and Field Offices have worked diligently, and in most cases, with limited staff and resources, to provide quality services to their customers. Services were provided through many avenues such as workshops, meetings, establishment of fair housing centers, cross-cutting training sessions and one-on-one technical assistance. Customers have expressed appreciation to Field staff for their wealth of program knowledge, warmth and sensitivity displayed them and for making a difference in their l ives. Acknowledgments from customers reflected tangible and intangible results�from successfully converting a regular parking space into a space suitable for a person with disabilities, or assistance with securing an apartment to being given peace of mind and hope. Following are excerpts from correspondence received from FHEO customers (real people helping real people):

  • "Thank you for all your wonderful help. I am really enjoying my new apartment. I couldn�t have done it without your help. Thanks for getting my Section 8 also. I will always remember. Because I am just a stranger in need. Thank you so much from my hea rt."

  • "....thank you again for being a speaker at the Community Development and Fair Housing Workshop. We are greatful of the sacrifice you made to be there...feedback that we have received since the workshop has been positive and supportive. In working together, we can bring about changes to our community that would benefit generations to come."

  • "The help you gave me this year has given me a peace of mind I�ve not had for a long time."

  • "Thank you so very much for everything you�ve recently done to assist me with my discrimination problem regarding a handicap parking space. I wish there was more I could do than just say �thank you�...thank you from the bottom of my heart for all y our caring and help!"

  • "This short letter is to thank you and the office you represent for the nice and excellent job you and your co-workers are doing in favor of people like me....I had a big problem in my house with a flood...I am not from here.... I have an accent wh en I talk, nobody wanted to help me....I decided to call your office and in a nice way, I talked to....and she understood my problem and very fast, she called the people and they seem to understand her and solve part of my problem. Again, thanks ....and p lease make this thanks extend to.... who answered the phone in a nice and delicate manner, always very helpful....if you need any help from me o my family, please let us know and we will do our best to help you and serve you."

  • "....thank you ever so much for helping to make our Omaha Board of Realtors luncheon a success. I feel we finally...thanks to you...answered questions that most of the industry was confused on pertaining to what can and cannot be advertised. It is nice to know we have an individual such as yourself that we can feel free to call to get answers and so very pleasantly too!"

  • "I thank you and commend you for upholding your pledge to the American citizen for fair housing. This afternoon, I was impressed by the prompt service I received in the U.S. HUD Office in...."

  • "I wanted to take time out to thank you for all your help during our phone conversation 2 days ago. You were very helpful. You gave me something I haven�t had for a long time HOPE. I received the info in the mail and sent in the complaint form toda y. Happy Holidays to you and your family."

  • "...your presentation was excellent. You speak very well and your presentation imparted a lot of information. Most important, however, is the fact that you are the first U.S. Government official with whom I have worked that conveyed a sincere desir e to work cooperatively with local governments. I am so impressed by your willingness to help and to provide information. I have been working in planning since 1960 and this is a first."

  • "We are experiencing some trouble with our home here...and wanted to write to express our thanks and gratitude concerning what you did for my family. To know that there are people at...who are concerned and did take time to listen to my situation.. .went personally to the proper authorities to see that I receive some help....And knowing because of people like yourself who will go that extra mile makes all the difference in the world to families like mine. Now not knowing what the future holds for my family, we were able to feel some immediate relief and enjoy the Holidays. Because of you and the Lord, my family and I can rest a little easier at night. You will always be remembered! Again, Thank You! Thank You!"

Lessons Learned

The above success stories taught us a Number of lessons regarding relationships and interactions with our customers, particularly regarding the importance of effective, timely communications.

We have learned a number of lessons regarding relationships and interactions with our customers, particularly regarding the importance of effective, timely communications.

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Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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