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HUD   >   State Information   >   Pennsylvania   >   News   >   HUDNo.2012-05-17
Maria Bynum
(215) 430-6622
FOR RELEASE
Thursday
May 17, 2012

HUD AWARDS MORE THAN $2 MILLION IN GRANTS TO COMBAT HOUSING DISCRIMINATION IN PENNSYLVANIA

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded $2 million to fair housing organizations to assist people in Pennsylvania who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination. The six different Pennsylvania organizations include the St. Martin Center, Inc. with two grants, Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia with one grant, Fair Housing Rights Center in Southeastern Pennsylvania with one grant, Fair Housing Partnership of Greater Pittsburgh with one grant, United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania with one grant and Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services with three grants. (The project summaries of these grants are listed at the end of the news release.)

"HUD provides the only federal grant support to private fair housing enforcement and education," said HUD Regional Administrator Jane C. W. Vincent. "We count these Pennsylvania fair housing organizations among our partners who help us fight housing discrimination.

The competitive grants are funded through HUD's Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP), and are part of nearly $41.18 million distributed nationwide to 99 fair housing organizations and other nonprofit agencies in 35 states and the District of Columbia. The grants will be used to enforce the Fair Housing Act through investigation and testing of alleged discriminatory practices, and to educate housing providers, local governments and potential victims of housing discrimination about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act. HUD had over $70 million in requests for FHIP, but funded only $41 million.

HUD is awarding FHIP grants to the following agencies in Pennsylvania

State Organization Name City Amount
Pennsylvania St. Martin Center, Inc. Erie $325,000.00
  St. Martin Center, Inc. Erie $125,000.00
  Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia Fort Washington $324,877.00
  Fair Housing Rights Center in Southeastern PA Glenside $324,000.00
  Fair Housing Partnership of Greater Pittsburgh Pittsburgh $325,000.00
  United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania Scranton $96,904.00
  Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services, Inc. Washington $325,000.00
  Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services, Inc. Washington $125,000.00
  Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services, Inc. Washington $125,000.00

FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate more than 9,300 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).

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HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.  You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDgov, on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.

PENNSYLVANIA
Erie
St. Martin Center, Inc.
Fair Housing Organization Initiative - Continued Development
Component - $325,000.00
St. Martin Center (SMC), a HUD registered, faith based, social service organization, will use its grant to expand its current fair housing education and outreach efforts to investigate mortgage loan document irregularities and the tactics of mortgage rescue scam companies currently operating locally. SMC will promote this new initiative in all outlets currently utilized for education and outreach of its other housing programs, with the goal of quicker complaint process turnaround/resolution and improved communications with the clients.

St. Martin Center, Inc.
Education and Outreach Initiative - Lending
Component - $125,000.00
St. Martin Center, Inc. (SMC) will use its grant to continue its fair housing complaint and tracking mechanism Erie County. To accomplish this goal, SMC will work with eight social service partners, and continue informational and educational outreach efforts in the rental, purchase, and financial literacy areas of real estate by promoting the initiative in the media, conducting meetings with partners, and facilitating meetings with consumers and housing related service providers. Consumer information will include the difference between basic landlordtenant issues and fair housing issues, what is expected from real estate and lending professionals, as well the complaint process and how it works. SMC will assist consumers in the filing of their respective complaint(s) as needed.

Fort Washington
Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia, Inc.
Private Enforcement Initiative - Multi-Year
Component - $324,877.00
Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia, Inc. (FHCSP) will use its grant to affirmatively further fair housing and reduce discrimination against protected classes in the Greater Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley regions of PA, through ongoing enforcement and proactive, systemic investigation. FHCSP will serve all protected classes: minorities, disabled, homeless, discriminatory lending victims, non-English speakers, rural residents, and families with children under this grant. FHCSP will also serve seven counties in Eastern PA: the City of Philadelphia, including three Empowerment Zones; Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties; and Lehigh and Northampton Counties (the Lehigh Valley), to educate these regions through outreach programs that target the discriminated with the help of intake and investigations.

Glenside
Fair Housing Rights Center in Southeastern Pennsylvania
Private Enforcement Initiative - Multi-Year
Component - $324,000.00
The Fair Housing Rights Center in Southeastern Pennsylvania (FHRC) will use its grant to combat housing discrimination by providing full service, broad based fair housing enforcement activities. The organization will concentrate on: intake, investigation and enforcement of fair housing violations in the rental, sales, lending, insurance, and advertisement of housing; auditing rental, sales, lending, and insurance activities; advertisement, design, and construction of new multi- family housing units; increasing filings and/or referrals of complaints with the PA FHAP agency, HUD, DOJ, and the courts; fair housing education to first time homebuyers, lending institutions, and insurance companies; capacity building and knowledge sharing with community organizations; and development of a "Fair Housing Stewards" program for college students and students from 4th - 12th grades.

Pittsburgh
Fair Housing Partne rship of Greater Pittsburgh
Private Enforcement Initiative - Multi-Year
Component - $325,000.00
The Fair Housing Partnership of Greater Pittsburgh (FHP), a qualified, experienced fair housing organization, will use its grant to continue to provide fair housing services to the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh MSA. Through this project FHP will conduct intake of allegations of housing discrimination, carry out both audit and complaint-based testing and assist in the enforcement of alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act and substantially equivalent State and local fair housing laws. FHP's enforcement related work will involve activities serving all protected classes under the Fair Housing Act.

Scranton
United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Education and Outreach Initiative - General
Component - $96,904.00
The United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania (UNC) will use its grant to provide services to four counties that have experienced demographic changes over the past few years pertaining to older adults, minorities and peoples with disabilities, and mitigate predatory lending and gate keeping segregation. The organization will contact the gatekeepers of the housing industry to ensure knowledge of fair housing law. The organization will also educate social service agencies on fair housing enlist their assistance in educating protected classes. UNC will host community forums to disseminate fair housing information to a wider audience. UNC will partner with local media organizations and PNC Bank to create PSAs to disseminate via radio, television, and billboard advertising.

Washington
Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services, Inc.
Private Enforcement Initiative - Multi-Year
Component - $325,000.00
Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services, Inc. (SPLAS) and its partners will use its grant to expand an established testing program for fair housing discrimination, and to increase the provision of legal counsel and representation on behalf of individuals who, through the project‟s information/outreach process, are made aware of illegal acts affecting themselves or others in their community, because of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status or disability. SPLAS is a 44-year old provider of comprehensive legal assistance, representation, education and outreach, in coordination with four legal services program partners, four Independent living services partners, and one County Fair Housing Office Partner.

Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services, Inc.
Education and Outreach Initiative - General
Component - $125,000.00
Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services, Inc. (SPLAS), in coordination with multiple legal and independent living services partners and the Beaver County Fair Housing Office, will use grant funds to expand community education and outreach about the Fair Housing Act to individuals in protected classes. SPLAS and its partners will prepare and conduct community education events for the public, community service providers, housing providers, and local attorneys; initiate outreach to mental health/mental retardation providers and domestic and sexual violence advocacy organizations; conduct special events recognizing and publicizing Fair Housing Month and the protections afforded individuals under the Fair Housing Act; and refer complaints to HUD and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services, Inc.
Education and Outreach Initiative - Lending
Component - $125,000.00
Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services, Inc. (SPLAS), in coordination with multiple partners, will use its grant for community education and outreach to persons who may have encountered lending discrimination related to the prevention o f mortgage default or foreclosure in 24 Pennsylvania counties in Appalachia. SPLAS and its partners will conduct fair lending education for the public, community service providers, housing providers, and local attorneys; initiate and develop an outreach effort to mental health/mental retardation providers and domestic and sexual violence advocacy organizations; refer complaints to HUD and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission; and conduct special events around Fair Housing Month and the protections provided under the Fair Housing Act and fair lending laws.