Little Rock, AR – Legal Aid of Arkansas is receiving $406,396 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help eliminate housing discrimination in Arkansas. This funding will support Legal Aid’s ongoing mission to provide equal housing opportunity for all.
A majority of this funding will renew Legal Aid’s Private Enforcement Initiative which maintains the organization’s status as Arkansas’ only private fair housing enforcement law firm and fair housing testing program. This funding was first awarded in April 2019 and is entering year two of a three-year project. In June 2019, Legal Aid opened a fair housing focused office in Little Rock to best serve clients around the state.
The Private Enforcement Initiative provides a full spectrum of legal services to members of each protected class of the Fair Housing Act. Project staff enforce fair housing laws through testing, systemic investigations, and enforcement of meritorious claims.
Legal Aid will use $125,000 of this award to provide comprehensive fair housing education and outreach services throughout the state in collaboration with the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission, the Arkansas chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, and other community partners. A portion of this funding will coordinate with an ongoing project at the organization, Legal Aid as a Response to the Opioid Crisis in Arkansas. This will help provide fair housing education to people with substance use disorder in collaboration with community partners who serve those in recovery. Legal Aid will also partner with Philander Smith College’s Social Justice Institute to create a fair housing internship. The social justice intern will work with Legal Aid attorneys to provide fair housing education across the state.
Both grants come through HUD's Fair Housing Initiatives Program, which provides funding for organizations across the country to assist individuals who have been victims of housing discrimination and educate the public, housing providers and other related organizations on the Fair Housing Act.
Legal Aid’s fair housing statewide projects provide free legal and educational services to individuals and organizations no matter where they are in the state.
The federal Fair Housing Act protects homebuyers and renters from discrimination based on membership in one of the Act's seven protected classes - race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability. Those who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination can call Legal Aid’s fair housing helpline at 1-870-338-9834 for assistance.