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HUD   >   State Information   >   District of Columbia   >   News   >   HUDNo.2013-09-25
HUD R3 No. 13-58
Niki Edwards
(215) 430-6622
www.hud.gov/districtofcolumbia
FOR RELEASE
Wednesday
September 25, 2013

 HUD AWARDS MORE THAN $2.5 MILLION TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO FIGHT HOUSING DISCRIMINATION

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded today $2,599,938 to five fair housing organizations in the District of Columbia in an effort to reduce housing discrimination. This funding is part of $38.3 million HUD awarded to 95 fair housing organizations and other nonprofit agencies in 38 states.

Funded through HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP), these grants will help enforce the Fair Housing Act through investigation and testing of alleged discriminatory practices.  In addition, the funds will educate housing providers, local governments and potential victims of housing discrimination about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.

“Ending housing discrimination requires that we support the law of the land and protect the housing rights of individuals and families who would be denied those rights,” stated HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “Ensuring and promoting fair housing practices lies at the core of HUD’s mission, and these grants enable community groups all over the nation to help families who are denied equal access to housing.”

Jane C.W. Vincent, Regional Administrator of HUD’s Mid-Atlantic region, added: “No one should be denied the opportunity to live where they want because of how they look, their faith, whether they have children or because they have a disability. These grants will help us continue our efforts to educate the public and housing industry about their housing rights and responsibilities.”

Project Summaries:  

Equal Rights Center
FY13 Private Enforcement Initiative
Multi-Year Component - $325,000

The Equal Rights Center (ERC) will use its grant to conduct intake and to investigate, through testing and other methods, complaints of housing discrimination alleging violation of federal fair housing laws and refer meritorious complaints to HUD or the D.C. Office of Human Rights. ERC will recruit and train testers to conduct rental, sales, and accessibility surveys. In addition, ERC will develop educational and counseling opportunities in the community through an integrated outreach approach that includes holding multiple intake clinics and community meetings or trainings, and drafting and distributing self-advocacy toolkits, including one addressing the fair housing rights of Housing Choice Voucher holders.  Lastly, ERC will conduct multiple in-person accessibility site surveys of multifamily construction.

Equal Rights Center
Education and Outreach Initiative
General Component - $125,000

The Equal Rights Center (ERC) will use its grant to build on existing education and outreach activities. ERC will continue disseminating existing materials and brochures to targeted audiences, and will create new materials for significant segments of the disability community.  ERC will hold "Know Your Rights" public presentations, incorporating ASL, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Korean, and Arabic interpretation as needed in underserved communities in the greater Washington, D.C. area. ERC will also hold "Know Your Rights" trainings in conjunction with the District of Columbia Housing Authority and area shelters to inform Housing Choice Voucher holders of their fair housing rights. Other activities include email blasts and a quarterly newsletter to ERC members and the public; community meetings; design and distribution of self- advocacy toolkits specific to aging issues and the needs of veterans; translation of current ERC brochures to braille; and design of an e-learning course on accessible housing for housing developers.

National Fair Housing Alliance
FY11 Private Enforcement Initiative
Multi-Year Component - $325,000

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) will use its grant to conduct rental, sales, lending and design and construction investigations.  NFHA will conduct tests in multiple Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) jurisdictions across the country, targeting cities where no private, nonprofit, or full service fair housing centers currently operate.  NFHA will develop systemic investigations based on initial testing evidence and bring administrative or legal enforcement actions. These systemic investigations will have the added benefit of providing HUD CDBG program recipients with more knowledge about how discrimination occurs in their Localities, so they can design better remedies in their Consolidated Plans for eliminating barriers to fair housing.

National Fair Housing Alliance
Fair Housing Organization Initiative
Lending Discrimination - $324,943

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) will use its grant to test and investigate mortgage lending discrimination and Real Estate Owned (REO) foreclosure discrimination in three metropolitan areas to analyze if and how mortgage credit may be limited or denied to members of the federally protected groups, especially people with disabilities. NFHA will further investigate the maintenance and marketing practices of REO properties in four cities to determine if the racial and/or ethnic composition of neighborhoods impact the quality of maintenance by the banks and asset managers. If NFHA identifies discriminatory conduct, it will file administrative/legal complaints against the discriminating banks and/or asset managers.

National Fair Housing Alliance
Education and Outreach Initiative
National Media Campaign Component - $1,499,995.00

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) will use its grant to complete several media-based activities. NFHA will produce a centralized, coordinated multi-media and web-based effort to educate the public about recognizing discrimination and knowing their fair housing rights.  Web and social media efforts will include Google AdWords advertising with a retargeting strategy component, a YouTube TrueView online video campaign, micro-targeted Facebook marketing, and a text/mobile engagement component.  On air, the campaign will include TV Public Service Announcements (PSAs) in English and Spanish.  NFHA will translate existing print PSAs into eight languages and create PowerPoint training programs and fair housing informational brochures that can be localized and downloaded.  In addition to marketing fair housing, the campaign will work with HUD and private fair housing groups to collect information about the relationship between public service advertising and the filing of complaints.  Also, NFHA will create a new web-based Fair Housing Resource Center and fair housing website.

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