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Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP)

Program Purpose:

The right to equal opportunity in housing is ensured not only by the Fair Housing Act, but also by State and local laws. HUD provides FHAP funding annually on a noncompetitive basis to State and local agencies that enforce fair housing laws that HUD has determined to be substantially equivalent to the federal Fair Housing Act. These agencies investigate and enforce complaints of housing discrimination that arise within their jurisdiction.

Eligible Grantees:

Only state and local public agencies may participate in the FHAP. To be eligible for assistance through the FHAP, a state or local agency must demonstrate to HUD that it enforces a fair housing law that is substantially equivalent to the federal Fair Housing Act. This means the law must provide rights, remedies, procedures and the availability of judicial review that are substantially equivalent to the federal Fair Housing Act.

Eligible Activities/Funding:

The FHAP supports a variety of fair housing administrative and enforcement activities, including complaint investigation, conciliation, administrative and/or judicial enforcement, training, implementation of data and information systems, and education and outreach. FHAP agencies begin with interim certification and are eligible for capacity building funds. Capacity building funds are available for up to the first three years of an agency's participation in the FHAP. The following are eligible uses of capacity building funds:

  • Provide for complaint processing activities, and
  • Support activities that produce increased awareness of fair housing rights and remedies.

Once an agency receives full certification, it becomes eligible for contribution funds. These funds come in various categories:

  • Complaint Processing Funds
    • FHAP agencies are reimbursed on a per-complaint basis for complaints processed in a given period.
  • Administrative Cost Funds
    • Administrative Cost funds may be used for salaries and other administrative expenses associated with the administration and enforcement of a substantially equivalent fair housing law, including:
      • Activities designed to create, modify, or improve local, regional, or national information systems concerning fair housing matters.
  • Partnership Funds
    • Partnership funds may be used to assist an agency in utilizing an individual or public/private/not-for-profit organization that has the expertise needed to effectively carry out the provisions of the agency's fair housing law. Examples include, but are not limited to:
      • Contracting with qualified organizations to conduct fair housing testing;
      • Hiring experienced, temporary employees to assist in fair housing investigations;
      • Partnering with grassroots, faith-based, or other community-based organizations to conduct education and outreach on fair housing issues;
  • Special Enforcement Effort (SEE) Funds
    • SEE Funds are funds that may be available to enhance an agency's enforcement of its fair housing law.
  • Training Funds
    • Both interim and fully certified FHAP participants are eligible for training funds. These funds allow agencies to participate in HUD-approved and HUD-sponsored training programs, as well as in other training opportunities to enhance their skills.

NOTE: All FHAP funding is subject to appropriations.

Responsibilities of Recipients:

The FHAP is intended as an intergovernmental enforcement partnership between HUD and the State or local agencies. As in any partnership, both parties must contribute to the success of the program.

While HUD provides significant resources to FHAP agencies in the form of training, technical assistance and funding, the FHAP agencies must demonstrate a commitment to thorough and professional complaint processing. This includes all phases of complaint processing, from accurate identification of issues at intake, through complete and sound investigations, to following through on administrative or judicial enforcement to ensure that victims of unlawful housing discrimination are fully compensated and the public interest is served. FHAP agencies should also work to develop relationships with public, private, and non-profit organizations in a grass roots approach to making fair and open housing a reality.

Of equal importance, the political jurisdictions in which they operate must understand their own commitment and must support the existence and the work of the FHAP agencies. Funding provided by HUD is not intended to cover 100 percent of the costs of the FHAP agencies' operations, therefore local resources must be provided by the jurisdiction to their respective FHAP agencies. Resources from the jurisdiction include not only funding but also the legal resources necessary to pursue administrative and/or judicial enforcement.

State or local agencies interested in participating in the FHAP should also consult the specific requirements enumerated in 24 C.F.R. § 115.307.

While HUD provides significant resources to FHAP agencies in the form of training, technical assistance and funding, the FHAP is intended as an intergovernmental partnership between HUD and the State or local agencies.

State or local agencies interested in participating in this partnership must demonstrate a commitment to thorough and professional complaint processing, and must develop relationships with public, private, and non-profit organizations on a grass root level in order to support fair housing efforts.

Of equal importance, the political jurisdictions in which they operate must understand their own commitment and must support the existence and the work of the FHAP agencies. Funding provided by HUD is not intended to cover 100 percent of the costs of the FHAP agencies' operations, therefore local resources must be made available to FHAP agencies, including not only funding but also the legal resources necessary to pursue administrative and/or judicial enforcement.

State or local agencies interested in participating in the FHAP should also consult the specific requirements enumerated in 24 C.F.R. § 115.307.

Legal Authority:

FHAP is authorized under Sections 810 and 817 of the Fair Housing Act and 42 U.S.C. § 3535 (d). Program regulations are at 24 CFR Part 115. FHAP is administered by the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.