The Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced a round of funding intended to combat housing discrimination related to COVID-19. Fair Housing Act violations are bad enough when things are “normal”, let alone during a global pandemic.
A press release at the HUD official site notes the agency is funding more than 50 Fair Housing initiatives to the tune of approximately $13 million. That money comes from the pool set aside for the American Rescue Plan (ARP).
The press release states the money funds a “range of fair housing enforcement and education and outreach activities related to the COVID-19 pandemic” including work to fight discrimination in communities determined to be “underserved” by such efforts.
“Discriminatory policies have no place in a nation struggling to deal with the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Demetria McCain, HUD’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, who is quoted in the HUD press release.
McCain adds that the money offered for these efforts “highlight HUD’s commitment to supporting the efforts of our many partners working to combat unlawful practices that jeopardize a family’s housing security.”
According to HUD the funding is made available via the FHIP’s Private Enforcement Initiative and this action is said to be “the first ARP competitive grants in FHEO that focus directly on the unequal impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on communities of color, low-income communities, and other vulnerable populations”
The new funding includes resources to facilitate the investigation of fair housing complaints, offering legal help, and fair housing “testing”.
Housing discrimination has a chilling effect on all levels of the housing industry. If you must rent a home before you buy, violations of the Fair Housing Act make it harder to seek and obtain a permanent home.
If you are discriminated against in any stage of the housing process, it’s important to register a complaint with the Department of Housing And Urban Development.
You can do so via the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (Relay). You can go online to file a housing discrimination complaint at hud.gov/fairhousing.