The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will provide $13.6 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to enable 51 HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program agencies to conduct a range of fair housing enforcement and education and outreach activities related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the activities that will be conducted by the organizations is addressing discriminatory practices in underserved communities.
“Discriminatory policies have no place in a nation struggling to deal with the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Demetria McCain, HUD’s principal deputy assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a release. “The funds being provided today highlight HUD’s commitment to supporting the efforts of our many partners working to combat unlawful practices that jeopardize a family’s housing security.”
The funds, which are being awarded under FHIP’s Private Enforcement Initiative component, are the first ARP competitive grants that focus directly on the unequal impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on communities of color, low-income communities, and other vulnerable populations. Specific activities that will be carried out include responding to housing inquiries, investigating fair housing complaints, conducting fair housing testing, providing legal assistance, conducting education and outreach, and covering costs associated with providing services related to the pandemic.
Another $5.7 million in ARP funding will be available to eligible applicants that did not receive funding in this first round.
The funding includes $350,000 each to Legal Aid of Arkansas, the Southwest Fair Housing Council in Arizona and Long Island Housing Services in New York.