A person or family looking for a home to buy with an FHA mortgage doesn’t go into the process expecting to be treated to a violation of federal law through discriminatory practices that violate the Fair Housing Act.
But many people do encounter such discrimination; the official site of the National Low Income Housing Coalition notes that in 2017 alone 2,249 Fair Housing cases were settled, with more than 400 cases involving a guilty plea from the defendant.
Fair Housing Act violations prevent those in need of housing from finding reasonable, affordable homes–discrimination in the housing process is a violation of federal law but unfortunately, there are many who still experience such discrimination whether as a future renter or homeowner.
Did you know that Fair Housing laws protect you at all stages of the housing process including home loans?
The Deaprtment of Housing and Urban Development provides millions in funding to local fair housing organizations including the latest award (in June 2020) of more than $40 million to local entities helping to stop Fair Housing Act violations.
These HUD grants, administered under a program known as the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) are offered not only to help the victims of Fair Housing Act violations–these funds are also earmarked for projects intended to help those in the housing industry understand Fair Housing Act obligations.
To that end, FHIP grants support enforcement, education, and outreach activities related to the Fair Housing Act and related issues.
“These grants allow the groups to provide fair housing enforcement through testing in the rental and sales markets, to file fair housing complaints to HUD, and to conduct investigations” according to the June 30 HUD press release.
Additionally, the education and outreach activities these organizations conduct also help to educate the public, housing providers, and local governments about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.”
HUD’s funding of enforcement is an important portion of the program; something called the “Private Enforcement Initiative” provides financial support to help with investigations into Fair Housing complaints.
If you have experienced discrimination at any stage in the housing process including home loans, refinancing, rentals, or elsewhere, file a complaint with the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).