HUD Awards legal aid of Arkansas over $400,000 to fight housing discrimination

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News Release) – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded over $40 million to fair housing organizations across the nation working to confront violations of the nation’s landmark Fair Housing Act and help end housing discrimination. (see grant chart below).   Read a complete project-by-project summary of the programs awarded grants today.  In Arkansas, Legal Aid of Arkansas in Jonesboro received two grants totaling $406,396.   See the program descriptions below.

          HUD’s grants are provided through the Department’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) and the Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) to help people who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination and to educate the public and housing providers on the nation’s fair housing laws.

          “HUD is committed to supporting efforts to rid discrimination from our society,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson.“ The grants we are awarding today will enable our fair housing partner organizations to combat unlawful policies and behavior and foster practices that ensure everyone has access to safe, affordable housing, free from discrimination.”

          HUD’s FHIP grants support a wide range of fair housing enforcement, and education and outreach activities. The grants will allow the groups to provide fair housing enforcement through testing in the rental and sales markets, file fair housing complaints with HUD, and conduct investigations. Additionally, the education and outreach activities these organizations will conduct will help to educate the public, housing providers, and local governments about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.

          The FHIP grants issued today are provided under HUD’s Education and Outreach (EOI), Fair Housing Organization (FHOI) and Private Enforcement Initiative (PEI) grant categories.

  • Private Enforcement Initiative grants – These awards help nonprofit fair housing enforcement organizations carry out investigations and other enforcement activities to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices.
  • Education and Outreach Initiative grants – HUD awards these grants to groups that educate the public and housing providers about their rights and responsibilities under federal law or state and local fair housing laws that are substantially equivalent to the Fair Housing Act.
  • Fair Housing Organizations Initiative grants – HUD awards these grants to help build the capacity and effectiveness of non-profit fair housing organizations to continue and enhance enforcement of the Fair Housing Act.

The grants help Qualified Fair Housing Enforcement Organizations, Fair Housing Enforcement Organizations, public and private non-profit organizations or institutions, and other public or private entities whose enforcement and education and outreach activities help to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices. HUD is also awarding $1.5 million in Partnership Funds to HUD Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) agencies. FHAP organizations are state and local government agencies that enforce local fair housing laws that are substantially equivalent to the Fair Housing Act.

             Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).

LEGAL AID OF ARKANSAS, INC.

FY2018 PRIVATE ENFORCEMENT INITIATIVE – $281,396.00

Legal Aid of Arkansas (Legal Aid) will use its FHIP Private Enforce Initiative (FHIP-PEI) funding to affirmatively further fair housing in Arkansas by providing comprehensive fair housing services throughout the state. This project will fund Arkansas’s only private fair housing enforcement organization and fair housing testing program. While providing a full spectrum of services to members of each protected class, Legal Aid will seek enforcement of the Fair Housing Act through enforcement of meritorious claims, testing, systemic investigations, and education/outreach. These activities will be conducted by Legal Aid’s housing attorneys, paralegals, and community education staff. As an area of special focus, Legal Aid will screen vulnerable populations at its medical/legal partnership locations for sexual harassment and gender discrimination and address those issues through testing and enforcement. Outcomes will be achieved through partnerships with the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission (AFHC), medical providers, and other community-based organizations.

LEGAL AID OF ARKANSAS, INC.

FY2019 EDUCATION AND OUTREACH INITIATIVE – $125,000.00

Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc. (Legal Aid) will use its grant funding to affirmatively further fair housing in Arkansas by providing comprehensive fair housing education and outreach services throughout Arkansas. Activities will include partnering with the Arkansas chapter of NAHRO [National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials] to provide education and outreach to federally subsidized housing providers and tenants; and partnering with the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission to conduct education and outreach in cities across Arkansas. In addition, Legal Aid will address Arkansas’s opioid abuse crisis by collaborating with community partners to provide fair housing education, with an emphasis on disability discrimination, to those with Opioid Use Disorder and to organizations that serve those in recovery. Legal Aid will also partner with Philander Smith College’s Social Justice Institute to create a fair housing internship; a social justice intern will work with Legal Aid’s attorneys to provide fair housing education across the state.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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