April is Fair Housing Month, and it’s likely no coincidence that April is also the month HUD announced added funds from the American Rescue Plan to fund HUD Fair Housing actions to fight discrimination related to COVID-19.
In a press release issued by the HUD official site, the agency announced an additional $3,285,353 in funding meant for organizations that qualify and can accept funding through the FHIP’s Private Enforcement Initiative. These added funds can be used for enforcement, awareness-raising, education, and outreach projects.
This is the third time American Rescue Plan funds have been used to fight housing discrimination related to the Coronavirus pandemic. According to HUD, some $16 million has been distributed to more than sixty agencies working to fight this particular type of housing discrimination.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal inequities in housing opportunities for many communities,” according to Demetria McCain, the HUD Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
McCain was quoted in a HUD press release and adds, “Our fair housing partners will utilize these additional funds to oppose discriminatory practices and safeguard housing rights for American families.”
The funding must be applied for and is not automatic. The HUD official site encourages agencies interested in this type of funding to get application forms and instructions via www.Grants.gov. The application process was kept open until May 5, 2022.
Housing discrimination takes many forms and those who have been discriminated against during the pandemic, and/or because of it, should file a Fair Housing complaint with the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity by phone at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (Relay).
Housing discrimination complaints can be filed online at www.hud.gov/fairhousing.
The funding initiative mentioned above isn’t a magic bullet that can automatically end all discrimination in the housing process. If you have been the victim of housing discrimination including in areas related to COVID-19, the best way to help prevent future abuses is to report the discrimination as soon as possible. HUD cannot investigate incidents they don’t know about.