HUD awards $30M to fight Fair Housing Act violations

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Tuesday announced that it awarded $30 million in grants to fair housing organizations across the nation, which will go to “support the efforts of national, state, and local fair housing entities working to address violations of the Fair Housing Act and to end discrimination in housing,” according to the department.

According to a full list of recipients, the money will be distributed to 78 fair housing organizations across 37 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

“HUD is committed to rooting out any and all forms of discrimination in housing, not just through words, but through real resources,” HUD acting secretary Adrianne Todman said in a statement. “Today, we’re awarding more than $30 million to help our partners on the ground educate the public, eliminate discriminatory housing practices, and fully enforce the Fair Housing Act.”

The Fair Housing Act is a common reference to Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, enforced by the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity inside HUD.

These new awards are designed to enable the recipients to “provide fair housing enforcement by conducting investigations, testing to identify discrimination in the rental and sales markets, and filing fair housing complaints with HUD or substantially equivalent state and local agencies,” according to the announcement.

Grant recipients will also conduct education and outreach activities to “inform the public, housing providers, and local governments about rights and responsibilities that exist under the Fair Housing Act,” according to HUD.

Discrimination based on religion, race and sex (which also includes gender identity and sexual orientation) are specifically cited by the announcement in addition to the act’s four other protected classes: color, national origin, familial status and disability.

“Through the collaborative efforts of HUD and its fair housing partners, we continue to make every effort to root out discrimination in housing,” said Demetria McCain, principal deputy assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity at HUD. “The funds provided today will ensure that our state and local partners have the financial resources they need to fight discriminatory practices and educate the public about their fair housing rights and responsibilities.”

The awards are being distributed under four initiatives: private enforcement (which will receive $16.7 million); education and outreach ($9.4 million); fair housing organizations ($3.7 million); and education and outreach test coordinator training (for one organization, which has been awarded $500,000).

Todman and HUD also commemorated National Fair Housing Month on Tuesday, as well as the signing of the Fair Housing Act in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson, which took place on April 11 of that year.

“Everyone in this country deserves to live free from discrimination, bias, and danger. This Fair Housing Month, we are recommitting ourselves to the important work of protecting individuals and families across America from harm,” Todman said.

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