The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is tasked with many things regarding housing, rental assistance, and fairness. The Department makes an effort to prevent housing discrimination. They fight for the rights of people who are BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, and/or parents to not be discriminated against when searching for housing.
This blog post picks up where the previous one left off.
May 3, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Makes More Than $20 Million Available to Fight Housing Discrimination”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it is making $20,229,156 available to fair housing organizations across the nation working to fight housing discrimination. The Funds will support a variety of activities, including fair housing testing, education and outreach, and capacity building, and are being provided through the Department’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP).
Each year, HUD makes funding available to support organizations that enforce the nation’s fair housing laws and policies, as well as educate the public, housing providers, and local governments about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.
The categories of grants being made available today are:
- Education and Outreach Initiative (EOI) – $7,223,649 – EOI grants help groups develop and implement tester training and education and outreach programs.
- Fair Housing Organization Initiative (FHOI) – $2,250,000 – FHOI grants provide funds to non-profit fair housing organizations to build their capacity and effectiveness to conduct enforcement related activities.
- Private Enforcement Initiative (PEI) – $10,755,507 – PEI grants help non-profit fair housing enforcement organizations carry out investigations and other enforcement activities to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices.
“The work HUD’s fair housing partners do is critical to our efforts to ensure that every person and family that calls America home has an equal shot when it comes to obtaining housing,” said HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Jeanine Worden. “HUD is committed to providing these groups with the funding they need to carry out their many important activities.”…
…Applications must be received June 14, 2021.
May 3, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) posted a press release titled: “HUD Observes Mental Health Awareness Month With Launch Of New Education Campaign”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is commemorating Mental Health Awareness Month 2021 this May with the launch of a new campaign that will educate the public about the various forms of housing discrimination people with mental health, intellectual or developmental disabilities often face, and what they should do if they believe their housing rights have been violated.
The new education and outreach campaign consists of social media graphics, as well as fact sheets for individuals with mental health, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, and housing providers, informing them of their fair housing rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Informational materials will also inform people about how to file a discrimination complaint with HUD.
“Individuals with mental health, intellectual, and developmental disabilities are protected under federal fair housing and nondiscrimination laws and cannot be denied housing or subjected to other discrimination because of their disability,” said Jeanine Worden, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, HUD is informing the public about the housing rights of persons with mental health disabilities and reminding housing providers of their obligation to comply with laws protecting those rights.”
The Fair Housing Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibit housing discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including individuals with mental health, intellectual or developmental disabilities. These laws require that individuals with disabilities be provided the same housing opportunities as those provided to individuals without disabilities. Individuals with disabilities also have the right to receive reasonable accommodations, which are exceptions, adjustments, or modifications to rules, policies, practices, and services that may be necessary for them to have an equal opportunity to enjoy and use their housing. One common type of reasonable accommodation individuals with mental health disabilities may need is an assistance animal that provides them with disability-related support. Unfortunately, housing providers often fail to understand that they must make exceptions to “no-pets” policies and allow a tenant to have an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation.
HUD is committed to offering individuals with disabilities accessible, integrated housing options that enable them to make meaningful choices about housing, health care, and long-term services and supports so they can participate fully in community life…
May 7, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Completes Direct Sale of State Of New York Single Family Mortgage Notes to Strengthen Neighborhoods”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Friday announced that it has completed a direct mortgage note sale with the State of New York and a non-profit partner to support the revitalization of vacant and abandoned properties and reduce neighborhood blight.
The sale, which finalized on Thursday, included 70 mortgage notes for single family homes located in cities and towns throughout the State of New York that are vacant or abandoned, and with mortgages that were 90 or more days delinquent. The sale agreement includes provisions that the notes should be held and resolved in ways that promote affordable housing, reduce neighborhood blight, and align with HUD’s mission to strenghten neighborhoods.
“This week’s direct sale is a much welcomed outcome for everyone involved, and most importantly, the communities where these vacant properties are located,” said Lopa Kolluri, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for HUD’s Office of Housing. “Through this transaction, 70 properties throughout the State can once again be vibrant community assets and affordable homes for families.”
The transaction was completed with NJCC-NYS Community Restoration Fund II LLC (CRF), a limited liability company comprised of the State of New York Mortgage Agency and New Jersey Community Capital, a non-profit entity. CRF will be able to leverage its public-private partnership in a way that resolves the delinquent mortgages and revitalizes the vacant and abandoned mortgaged properties.
About the Transaction:
- Transaction: Direct sale of 70 mortgages notes for vacant/abandoned single family properties in 54 cities and towns in New York State.
- Combined Unpaid Principal Balance: $10.71 million
- Sale Price: $4.26 million
- Settlement Date: May 6, 2021…
May 7, 2021: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Charges Kansas Homeowners Association With Disability Discrimination”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging The Apollo Gardens Homes Association, Inc. (HOA), Inc, in Mission, Kansas, and its board president with violating the Fair Housing Act for allegedly refusing to allow a resident with a mobility impairment to expand her own sidewalk at her own expense. The requested modification would have enabled the resident to use her walker and have more stability. HUD’s charge also alleges that, rather than granting the requested accommodation from HOA restrictions, the HOA retaliated against the resident by removing her from a position on the HOA board and denying her reinstatement request. Read HUD’s charge.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to refuse to permit residents to make reasonable modifications to their existing premises when such modifications may be necessary to afford a person with disabilities full enjoyment of a dwelling. The Act also prohibits housing providers from retaliating against persons with disabilities who request to make such modifications.
“A homeowner association may not deny a resident with disabilities permission to make a reasonable modification they need,” said Jeanine Worden, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue taking necessary action to ensure that individuals and entities that control access to housing abide by the requirements of the Fair Housing Act.”
“Individuals with disabilities have the right to make reasonable modifications to their own housing to fully enjoy their residence and should never face retaliation for asserting their fair housing rights,” said Damon Smith, HUD’s Principal Deputy General Counsel. “HUD is committed to making sure housing is equally accessible to residents with disabilities and that their requests to make modifications are handled appropriately.”
HUD’s charge alleges that Apollo Gardens HOA required association members who sought a modification or accommodation due to a disability to follow the same process as members who sought to remodel a residence for aesthetic reasons. HUD’s charge further alleges that when the homeowner with disabilities provided information to the association explaining that the sidewalk expansion would have “made a big difference in [her] ability to use [her] front sidewalk,” the association voted against allowing the modification and voted to remove the homeowner from its board.
HUD’s charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party elects for the case to be heard in federal court. If, after a hearing, the administrative law judge finds that discrimination has occurred, the judge may award damages to the complainant for her losses that have resulted from the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties in order to vindicate the public interest…
May 11, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Awards $51 Million To Clean Up Lead Hazards In Public Housing”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded nearly $51.4 million to 25 Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) in 19 states to identify and reduce lead-based paint hazards in thousands of older public housing units. Provided through HUD’s Public Housing Capital Fund, these grants will be targeted to public housing units currently occupied by families with young children. See funding chart below.
“In order to be healthy, it’s important to have a healthy home,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “Protecting families with young children from lead and other health hazards is an important part of HUD’s mission, and we don’t take it lightly. It is also a matter of environmental justice, and HUD is committed to President Biden’s directive to prioritize environmental justice and equity for disadvantaged communities.”
Although lead-based paint was banned for residential use in 1978, HUD estimates that about 24 million older homes still have significant lead-based paint hazards today. While most public housing has already undergone abatement, there are still some properties where lead-based paint remains, and where hazards have redeveloped. Lead-contaminated dust is the primary cause of lead exposure and can lead to a variety of health problems in young children, including reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, reduced height, and impaired hearing. At higher levels, lead can damage a child’s kidneys and central nervous system and can even be deadly.
On January 27, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order that placed environmental justice at the forefront of efforts to tackle the climate crisis. HUD’s awarding of this $51 million in funding is in line with the President’s order, as lead poisoning disproportionately affects people of color.
Today’s funding is the third round of funding under this program. To date, HUD has awarded $46.1 million to 51 grantees, to make approximately 4,610 units lead safe. HUD has a long history of working to ensure lead-safe housing, which fits into the broader federal response to address lead hazards found in paint, dust and soil, and other sources like water and consumer goods. For 25 years, HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes has worked to improve methods to identify and address home-related health and safety hazards, including those from lead. Since 1993, HUD has awarded more than $1.58 billion in grants to communities for identification and control of lead-based paint hazards in over 190,000 low-income privately owned housing units. In addition, HUD supports research on best practices for identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards, and conducts an outreach program to raise public awareness and knowledge about lead poisoning…
(A list of States that HUD has given grants to can be found at the bottom of this press release.)
May 11, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD To Administer Michigan’s Highland Park Housing Commission Operations”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Tuesday announced that it has taken possession of the Highland Park Housing Commission (HPHC) programs, projects, and assets to reverse years of financial mismanagement, increase occupancy rates and improve physical conditions.
“The safety and health of HUD-assisted families is one of our highest priorities,” said Dominique Blom, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH). “The decision for HUD to take possession of a public housing authority is exercised with great restraint out of respect for local leadership, and only when the law permits. We will work closely with the community, local leaders, and the residents to reach a positive outcome.”
Citing a decade of neglect, a high number of unit vacancies, poor physical condition of units and properties, un-auditable financials and records, HUD will help HPHC get on the right path and improve the quality of life for the residents.
On April 29, HUD informed HPHC of its intention to take possession of its programs, projects, and assets. Upon possession on Monday, May 10, a HUD Recovery Administrator began serving as the Board and will make decisions necessary to ensure decent and safe housing for residents by implementing the following:
- Take over fiduciary responsibilities, establishing internal controls, procurement actions and repositioning strategies.
- Work with the existing third-party management agent, Continental Management, to perform day-to-day operations for its public housing program.
- Assess options to reposition HPHC’s public housing
The completion of the Recovery Agreement/Recovery Action Plan will serve as the platform for improved service delivery to residents towards the ultimate goal of ensuring decent and safe housing for HPHC families.
May 12, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Charges Indiana Housing Providers With Disability Discrimination For Refusing To Permit Applicant To Have An Assist Animal”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging Bloomington, Indiana’s Burnham Rentals, LLC, Burnham Place Apartments, LLC, two of its employees and others, with violating the Fair Housing Act’s bar on disability discrimination. HUD’s charge alleges that the housing providers refused to permit a rising Indiana University graduate student, who has depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, to keep an assistance animal in an apartment. In addition, HUD’s charge alleges that the housing providers used the building’s “no pets” policy as justification to deny the student’s request to live with her assistance animal, effectively denying her access to the housing. Read HUD’s charge.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to people with disabilities, or from refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices when necessary to provide persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling. This includes refusing to rent to people with disabilities who have assistance animals that perform work or tasks, or that provide disability-related emotional support. “Not allowing someone with mental health disabilities to keep an assistance animal robs them of their independence as well as the opportunity to fully enjoy their home,” said Jeanine Worden, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD remains committed to ensuring that the owners of rental housing meet their obligations under the nation’s fair housing laws.”
“Often people with mental health disabilities who request reasonable accommodations face discrimination because their disabilities are not visible. HUD works to ensure that the rights of individuals with ‘invisible’ disabilities are fully visible and enforced,” said Damon Smith, HUD’s Principal Deputy General Counsel.
HUD’s charge alleges that the graduate student used the assistance animal, a cat, to ameliorate her symptoms in lieu of medication that caused her side effects. With her doctor’s support and monitoring, she found relief with the assistance animal. The housing providers, however, allegedly denied her request to keep the animal, resulting in the student being forced to rent another, more expensive, apartment farther from the university…
…HUD’s charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party elects for the case to be heard in federal court. If, after a hearing, the administrative law judge finds that discrimination has occurred, the judge may award damages to the complainant for losses that have resulted from the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties in order to vindicate the public interest…
May 14, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Reaches Agreement To Resolve Disability Discrimination Complaint And Deliver Affordable Accessible Housing in Puerto Rico”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has reached a Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) with the Rio Plata Housing Development and the Puerto Rico Housing Finance Authority (PRHFA), resolving allegations of disability discrimination and ensuring accessibility in federally-funded housing developments across Puerto Rico. The VCA leverages a federal $2.5 million PRHFA-awarded Housing Trust Fund grant to bring the Rio Plata Housing Development into compliance with federal accessibility requirements. The Agreement also requires Rio Plata to pay $100,000 in relief to resolve the discrimination complaint that was filed with HUD. Rio Plata provides 90 units of affordable housing for income-qualifying families. Read the Voluntary Compliance Agreement (English Language Version) (Spanish Language Version).
The VCA stems from allegations of discrimination and inaccessible housing against Rio Plata that left a resident without the use of a bedroom or bathroom in her home since approximately 2014 because of her mobility disability. Additionally, the Agreement builds upon commitments made to HUD by PRFHA in 2017 to remove accessibility barriers from affordable housing developments across its portfolio and bring properties into compliance with federal accessibility standards. The PRHFA administers funding to over 18,000 affordable housing units at approximately 160 developments in Puerto Rico through HUD’s Section 8 Project Based Rental Assistance program.
“HUD is committed to overcoming and redressing this Nation’s history of housing discrimination and we will deliver on this promise for the residents of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,” said Jeanine Worden, Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Those who accept HUD funds to provide affordable housing make a commitment to not discriminate and that means delivering housing that is accessible for persons with disabilities and their families. We will ensure these commitments are kept.”
HUD will continue to support the development of affordable housing in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and announced that an additional $3.2 million in Housing Trust Fund dollars was committed on April 20, 2021 to further this effort. The Department, through this Agreement, will provide support and oversight to Puerto Rico in its administration of these and other federal funds to ensure low-income, individuals with disabilities in Puerto Rico can access affordable housing.
HUD enforces the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. HUD also enforces other federal fair housing laws, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, that prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities by requiring accessibility in programs, activities, services, and facilities receiving federal funds…
May 17, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Announces $5 Billion To House People Experiencing Homelessness”. From the press release:
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge today announced the allocation of $5 billion in American Rescue Plan funds for emergency housing vouchers for individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. Secretary Fudge made the announcement during a Zoom call with Congressman David Price (NC), Senator Patty Murray (WA), Dallas, TX Mayor Eric Johnson, and Oakland, CA Mayor Libby Schaaf.
The supplemental funding is allocated through the Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) program. Through EHV, HUD is providing 70,000 housing choice vouchers to local public housing authorities (PHAs) across the country to help Americans find and remain in housing. Click here for a full list of initial allocations.
“While most of us spent more time in our homes than we ever have, more than half a million Americans had to spend the last year either in crowded shelters or sleeping outside,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “With HUD’s swift allocation of this $5 billion in American Rescue Plan funding, we are providing communities the resources to give homes to the people who have had to endure the COVID-19 pandemic without one. Congress now needs to pass the President’s American Jobs Plan. This once-in-a-generation investment would bring the United States closer to ending homelessness and housing instability.”
“Stable housing is a basic human need, and the foundation upon which people build their lives. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, 1,296 Emergency Housing Vouchers are available for unhoused individuals and those facing housing instability in the state of North Carolina,” said Congressman David Price. “As Chairman of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, I am proud to work alongside HUD to carry out the vital mission of ending homelessness through a Housing First approach to help build our country back better.”
“The American Rescue Plan is working, bringing more than $400 million in rental assistance to Washington state and hundreds of millions more in homeowner and homelessness assistance – including the emergency housing vouchers we’re talking about today,” said Senator Patty Murray. “The legislation we sent to President Biden’s desk is making an important difference in people’s lives, especially for people of color who have felt the disproportionate impact of this crisis. We’re making real progress to get our communities back to ‘normal’ — but that isn’t good enough when ‘normal’ wasn’t working for so many before the pandemic. We faced a housing crisis before the pandemic, and we need to keep working to pass the American Jobs Plan — to help our country build back stronger and fairer than before.”
“The best way to address homelessness is to prevent it. And the American Rescue Plan Act emergency vouchers that the Biden Administration is allocating today will provide a major boost to our efforts,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. “Through this program alone, more than 1,100 families in our area will receive assistance and will be able to stay in their homes. We are deeply appreciative of the Biden Administration for this much-needed assistance that will make our city stronger.”
“The Biden-Harris Administration gets it — housing is infrastructure,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Our homelessness crisis requires a bold, multi-faceted response, and today’s announcement that Oakland will receive more than 500 emergency housing vouchers for our most vulnerable residents will have an immediate impact in our community. I’m proud to work with Secretary Fudge and the administration to end the humanitarian crisis of homelessness in our country.”
The $5 billion in EHV-ARP funding gives communities the resources needed to help eligible households find and remain in housing. HUD estimates that these EHVs, alongside resources provided by the CARES Act, could help house 130,000 households…
May 17, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Approves Settlement Resolving Claims of Disability Discrimination At Las Vegas Apartment Complex”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has approved a Conciliation Agreement between Olen Living and Spanish Ridge Corporation, the owners of apartment complexes in Las Vegas, NV, and mother and daughter tenants, resolving allegations that the owners refused to grant their reasonable accommodation request to be moved to a different unit. Read the Conciliation Agreement.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying housing to persons with disabilities or subjecting them to discriminatory terms or conditions, including denying reasonable accommodation requests.
“Persons with disabilities who request accommodations aren’t asking for special treatment. They’re asking for what they need to use and enjoy their homes,” said Jeanine Worden, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Settlements like this remind housing providers of the importance of meeting their obligation to comply with the nation’s housing laws.”
The mother and daughter alleged that they had requested to move to another unit because their unit had mold and bulging carpeting, which made it difficult for the daughter to use her walker.
Under the terms of the Conciliation Agreement, the property owners will pay the mother and daughter $5,984, waive $9,486 in past rent and other expenses the owners claim they owed, and provide training on fair housing and reasonable accommodations for their employees…
May 21, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Reaches Settlement With California Housing Providers Resolving Claims Of National Origin Discrimination”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has reached a Conciliation/Voluntary Compliance Agreement with Cascade Village Apartments II, LP, in Sacramento, CA, its management company, FPI Management, Inc., (FPI), and FPI’s portfolio manager resolving allegations that they violated the Fair Housing Act and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In particular, respondents allegedly failed to provide language access services to Vietnamese residents and retaliated against a Cascade Village employee for advocating for residents with limited English proficiency to receive oral interpretation services and translated vital documents. Read the agreement.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from discriminating against persons based on their national origin. This includes aiding others in the exercise or enjoyment of their fair housing rights. Additionally, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin by recipients of federal financial assistance, and requires such recipients to take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access for limited English proficient (LEP) persons.
“Everyone who applies for or lives in HUD-assisted housing should be able to access critical information about that housing, such as the application process, the terms of their lease, and the apartment building’s rules,” said HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary Jeanine Worden. “Language must not be a barrier to accessing affordable housing. Under fair housing laws, affordable housing providers have an obligation to make important information available to all applicants and tenants, including people whose primary language is not English.”
The case came to HUD’s attention when an agent at Cascade Village Apartments, which receives HUD funding, filed a complaint alleging that the owners and managers of the property failed to provide language access services to the complex’s Vietnamese residents and retaliated against an employee because she advocated for the housing providers to provide language services to LEP residents.
Under the terms of the settlement, FPI Management, Inc., agrees to, among other things, pay $10,000 to the employee who filed the complaint. FPI Management will also provide $20,075 in compensation to residents of the property, with each household receiving $275 as either a check or as a rent credit. In addition, a notification letter will be sent to each household in their primary language notifying them of the agreement, including that FPI Management will provide LEP applicants with free oral interpretation services and translated documents when required by law…
May 24, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Announces $145 Million Funding Opportunity To Address The Needs of Youth Experiencing Homelessness”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is making $145 million in competitive funding available to build systems intended to end youth homelessness in local and rural communities through HUD’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP). Competitive funding is available to up to 50 communities for implementation of youth specific innovative programs to address the needs of youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Read HUD’s Notice of Opportunity.
“Getting and keeping young people off the streets and helping them find a safe, stable home can change the trajectory of their lives,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “Local leaders who are on the ground every day know what it takes to meet the needs of youth experiencing homelessness, and this funding will empower them to do so. I am pleased to announce this funding and encourage local groups to apply.”
“While eradicating youth homelessness is a tough challenge, we can work toward the goal of getting it done with the help of our local partners,” said Arthur Jemison, HUD Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary. “Offering this funding to local communities through our Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program not only helps vulnerable youth but it also brings us closer to ending youth homelessness as we know it.”
The Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program was developed with youth in mind, relying upon the recommendations provided directly from young people who had experienced homelessness. To ensure that the program meets the needs of young people, HUD has continued to work closely with young people with lived experience in the application review process and to provide technical assistance to communities to help them incorporate youth voices and leadership into their local work. HUD works closely with our Federal partners, including the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Education, and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, program development and application assessment to ensure that YHDP communities are working with a diverse set of stakeholders and across silos to assist youth in crisis.
Selected communities will use funding for rapid re-housing, permanent supportive housing, and transitional housing, and to fund innovative programs, such as host homes. YHDP will also support youth-focused performance measurement and coordinated entry systems. To date, HUD has funded almost 300 projects in 44 communities across the country through the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program. HUD is excited to work with the next cohort of YHDP communities and the great work that they will do to address youth homelessness.
May 26, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Awards $160 Million To 5 Communities To Revitalize Housing, Invest In Neighborhoods”. From the press release:
U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge on Wednesday announced that five communities have received a combined $160 million to redevelop severely distressed housing and spur comprehensive revitalization under the federal Choice Neighborhoods Initiative.
HUD has named Camden, New Jersey; Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Fort Myers, Florida; and Lewiston, Maine as this year’s grant winners.
“Since its creation, the Choice Neighborhoods initiative has transformed communities across the nation,” said Secretary Fudge. “Today’s announcement will support local vision for reinvigorating low-income communities into areas of opportunity-whether it be with regard to housing, health, education, childcare, or jobs. I applaud each of the five communities for their commitment to ensuring affordable housing serves as a platform for community innovation and individual advancement.”
The Choice Neighborhoods initiative supports the revitalization of communities through an emphasis on linking housing improvements with comprehensive social services and physical neighborhood improvements. Local leaders, residents, and stakeholders, such as public housing authorities, cities, schools, police, business owners, nonprofits, and private developers, come together to create and implement a plan that revitalizes distressed HUD-assisted housing and addresses the challenges in the surrounding neighborhood. This year’s awardees were selected from a pool of 20 applications.
Choice Neighborhoods is focused on three core goals:
- Housing: Replace distressed public and assisted housing with high-quality mixed-income housing that is well-managed and responsive to the needs of the surrounding neighborhood;
- People: Improve outcomes of households living in the target housing related to employment and income, health, and children’s education; and
- Neighborhood: Create the conditions necessary for public and private reinvestment in distressed neighborhoods to offer the kinds of amenities and assets, including safety, good schools, and commercial activity, that are important to families’ choices about their community.
The five awardees will create nearly 2,700 new mixed-income housing units as part of their efforts to revitalize their neighborhoods. Based on information provided in each community’s application, for every $1 in Choice Neighborhoods funding, the awardees will leverage an additional $10.60 in public and private resources for their project proposals…
June 10, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Restores Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Requirement”. From the press release:
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge announced that HUD published an interim final rule on Thursday to restore the implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) requirement. The publication provides a robust definition of the duty to affirmatively further fair housing, to which many HUD grantees must certify compliance. Additionally, HUD is committed to providing communities that receive HUD funding with the technical support they need to meet their long-standing fair housing obligations.
In addition to barring housing discrimination, the Fair Housing Act requires HUD and its funding recipients, such as local communities, to also take affirmative steps to remedy fair housing issues such as racially segregated neighborhoods, lack of housing choice, and unequal access to housing-related opportunities. To fulfill this requirement, in 2015, HUD promulgated a rule that compelled each covered funding recipient to undertake a defined fair housing planning process. Funding recipients were required to complete an assessment of fair housing issues, identify fair housing priorities and goals, and then commit to meaningful actions to meet those goals and remedy identified issues, with HUD reviewing each assessment. The last administration suspended implementation of this rule and eliminated the 2015 rule’s procedural requirements, redefining the regulatory AFFH requirement so it was no longer consistent with the actual requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
Under the restored AFFH regulatory definition announced today, municipalities and other HUD funding recipients that must regularly certify compliance with the Fair Housing Act’s AFFH requirement will, in doing so, commit to taking steps to remedy their unique fair housing issues. To support compliance with AFFH, HUD will provide a voluntary process that funding recipients can choose to use to identify the fair housing concerns that exist locally and commit to specific steps to remedy them. HUD will provide technical assistance and support to funding recipients that carry out this voluntary fair housing planning process.
“More than 50 years since the Fair Housing Act’s passage, inequities in our communities remain that block families from moving into neighborhoods with greater opportunities,” said Secretary Fudge. “As a former mayor and Member of Congress, I know firsthand the importance of giving localities the tools they need to ensure their communities have access to safe, affordable housing near quality schools, transportation, and jobs. Today, HUD is taking a critical step to affirm that a child’s future should never be limited by the ZIP code where they are born.”
This rule is one of the ways in which HUD fulfills its legal mandate under the Fair Housing Act to “affirmatively further” the purposes of the Act. Additionally, it is consistent with President Biden’s January 26 Memorandum, Redressing Our Nation’s and the Federal Government’s History of Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies, which directed HUD to examine the prior Administration’s fair housing rules and take all steps necessary to implement the Fair Housing Act’s requirement that HUD administer its programs in a manner that affirmatively furthers fair housing. With today’s action, HUD rescinds the previous Administration’s rule (entitled “Preserving Neighborhood and Community Choice,” or PCNC) and restores certain definitions and other selected parts from the 2015 AFFH rule.
The interim final rule will go into effect on July 31, 2021. HUD will take comments for 30 days after publication and may act on them prior to the effective date of the rule.
HUD intends to undertake a separate rulemaking to build upon and further improve the 2015 AFFH rule by instituting a new fair housing planning process and framework that increases efficiency and improves outcomes for communities across the country.
June 16, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Charges New York Landlord With Disability Discrimination”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging a landlord in Niagara Falls, New York, with violating the Fair Housing Act by denying a tenant’s reasonable accommodation request to keep an assistance animal and retaliating against the tenant by evicting her. Read HUD’s charge.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from discriminating against individuals with disabilities, including refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices when such accommodations may be necessary to provide such individuals an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling. This includes permitting persons with disabilities to have service or assistance animals. It also means that a housing provider that has a “no-pets” policy must waive it for a resident or prospective resident who needs an assistance animal because of a disability.
“Assistance animals provide invaluable support for persons with disabilities, including allowing them to fully utilize and enjoy the place they call home,” said Jeanine Worden, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s action sends a loud and clear message to housing providers that HUD remains committed to ensuring that they meet their obligation to comply with the nation’s fair housing laws.”
“The Fair Housing Act requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations so individuals with disabilities who need assistance animals can have them. And housing providers may not retaliate against people who seek reasonable accommodations to which they are entitled,” said Sasha Samberg-Champion Deputy General Counsel for Enforcement & Fair Housing. “As this charge demonstrates, HUD will take action when housing providers violate these tenants’ rights.”
HUD’s charge alleges that the owner of a Niagara Falls apartment complex refused to allow a woman with mental health disabilities to keep an assistance animal even though she provided him with a physician’s letter attesting to her need for the accommodation. The charge alleges further that the owner refused to allow the woman to live with the animal and subsequently evicted her, claiming that the dog had displayed aggressive behavior and was not a legitimate assistance animal.
Last month HUD commemorated Mental Health Awareness Month 2021 with the launch of a campaign to educate the public about the various forms of housing discrimination people with mental health, intellectual, or developmental disabilities often face, and what they should do if they believe their fair housing rights have been violated.
HUD’s charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge. If, after a hearing, the administrative law judge finds that discrimination has occurred, the judge may award damages to the complainant for her losses that have resulted from the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties in order to vindicate the public interest…
June 18, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “Federal Housing Administration Takes Steps To Remove Barriers To Homeownership For Those With Student Loan Debt”. From the press release:
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) on Friday announced updates to its student loan monthly payment calculations to take steps to remove barriers and provide more access to affordable single family FHA-insured mortgage financing for creditworthy individuals with student loan debt, which has a disproportionate impact on people of color. The updated policy more closely aligns FHA student loan debt calculation policies with other housing agencies, helping to streamline and simplify originations for borrowers with student loan debt obligations.
“As our country comes together to remember Juneteenth and acknowledge National Homeownership Month, we are reminded of a basic truth: that, too often in our history, the march toward freedom has been a long, halting, and uneven journey,” said Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “Homeownership is the cornerstone of the American Dream and the best way to build generational wealth. I am proud that FHA is taking action to make it easier for borrowers with student loan debt to qualify for a federally insured mortgage. This new policy will make a big difference for individuals throughout our nation and is another step in our mandate to promote equity and opportunity for homeownership.”
The policy updates published on Thursday evening for FHA Single Family Title II forward mortgages remove the current requirement that lenders calculate a borrower’s student loan monthly payment of one percent of the outstanding student loan balance for student loans that are not fully amortizing or are not in repayment. The new policy bases the monthly payment on the actual student loan payment, which is often lower, and helps home buyers who, with student debt, meet minimum eligibility requirements for an FHA-insured mortgage.
This announcement enhances FHA’s ability to serve one of its core demographics—first-time homebuyers. Over 80 percent of FHA-insured mortgages are for first-time homebuyers on average each year. FHA estimates that more than 45 percent of these borrowers also have student loan debt, with much of this debt impacting people of color.
“These changes remove unnecessary constraints for otherwise creditworthy borrowers and reinforce FHA’s ability to serve those who need us most, including first-time homebuyers and underserved communities,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Federal Housing Administration Lopa Kolluri.
“Today as we prepare to celebrate Juneteenth and recognize June as Homeownership Awareness Month, it is critical that we reflect on all of the ways that racial discrimination is woven into our society, especially in our housing system. Too many generations of Black families are locked out of the opportunity to get an affordable mortgage, own their own home, and build wealth to pass on to their children and grandchildren,” said U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. “I commend HUD and Secretary Fudge for taking this first step to address inequities in our housing system and look forward to continuing to work together to increase access to homeownership and address disparities.”
Lenders may implement the changes immediately but must implement the changes for FHA Case Numbers assigned on or after August 16, 2021.
June 21, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Takes Additional Steps to Free Up Long-Awaited Disaster Recovery Funds for Puerto Rico and USVI”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today published a Federal Register notice governing the use of $2 billion in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds for electric power system enhancements and improvements for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The publication of this notice is the latest in a series of HUD actions under the Biden-Harris Administration to support recovery and renewal in Puerto Rico and the USVI.
“Today’s announcement is an important step in addressing the recovery and resilience needs of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “By opening the door to this $2 billion in funding, HUD is enabling Puerto Rico and the USVI to improve the reliability and resilience of their electrical systems to promote environmental equity and to both withstand the impacts of climate change and contribute less to its causes.”
In 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria damaged significant elements of the electricity systems in Puerto Rico and the USVI. Following the hurricanes, five months of repairs were required to restore power to the USVI, and approximately eleven months of repairs were needed to restore power to Puerto Rico.
CDBG-DR funds for electrical power system improvements provide a unique and significant opportunity for Puerto Rico and the USVI to carry out strategic and high-impact activities to address necessary expenses and mitigate disaster risks to their electrical power systems; improve system reliability, resiliency, efficiency, and sustainability; and address each system’s long-term financial viability.
The Department seeks to maximize the impact of these CDBG-DR funds by encouraging the formation of public-private partnerships, partnerships with local, community, and neighborhood organizations, and through enhanced coordination with other Federal programs.
In the action plan governing the use of these funds, grantees are also required to describe how the funds will be used to address the needs of vulnerable populations, protected classes, and underserved communities; how the funded activities primarily benefit low- and moderate-income persons; and how the planned improvements will be designed and implemented to address the impacts of climate change.
Since its first days, the Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized action to enable stronger recovery for Puerto Rico and the USVI. This includes obligating long-awaited disaster recovery funds and removing onerous restrictions placed on the grants, such as incremental grant obligations, Federal Financial Monitor review, and more. With today’s Federal Register notice, ninety percent of promised funds have been obligated to Puerto Rico.
June 25, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Proposes Restoring Discriminatory Effects Rule”. From the press release:
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge announced on Thursday that HUD will publish in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled Restoring HUD’s Discriminatory Effects Standard. The publication proposes to rescind the Department’s 2020 disparate impact rule and restore the 2013 discriminatory effects rule. In its NPRM, HUD states that it believes the 2013 rule is more consistent with decades of caselaw and better effectuates the Act’s broad remedial purpose of eradicating unnecessary discriminatory practices from the housing market.
“We must acknowledge that discrimination in housing continues today and that individuals, including people of color and those with disabilities, continue to be denied equal access to rental housing and homeownership,” said Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “It is a new day at HUD-and our Department is working to lift barriers to housing and promote diverse, inclusive communities across the country. Today’s publication of the proposed discriminatory effects rule is the latest step HUD is taking to fulfill its duty to ensure more fair and equitable housing.”
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing and housing-related services because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, and disability. The discriminatory effects (also referred to as disparate impact) doctrine is a tool for addressing policies that cause systemic inequality in housing. It has long been used to challenge policies that unnecessarily exclude people from housing opportunities, including zoning requirements, lending and property insurance policies, and criminal records policies. Accordingly, having a workable discriminatory effects standard is vital for the accomplishment of the Biden-Harris Administration’s policy goal of a housing market that is free from both intentional discrimination and policies and practices that have unjustified discriminatory effects.
HUD’s 2013 discriminatory effects rule codified long-standing caselaw for adjudication of Fair Housing Act cases under the discriminatory effects doctrine, for cases filed administratively with HUD and for federal court actions brought by private plaintiffs. Under the 2013 rule, the discriminatory effects framework was straightforward: a policy that had a discriminatory effect on a protected class was unlawful if it did not serve a substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interest or if a less discriminatory alternative could also serve that interest. The 2020 rule complicated that analysis by adding new pleading requirements, new proof requirements, and new defenses, all of which made it harder to establish that a policy violates the Fair Housing Act. HUD now proposes to return to the 2013 rule’s straightforward analysis.
The public will have 60 days to file comments on the NPRM. HUD will review the comments, develop responses, and publish a final rule. In the meantime, HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) continues to vigorously enforce the Fair Housing Act, including addressing policies and practices by housing providers, lenders, insurers, appraisers, and others that cause unjustified systemic inequities based on race or other protected class.
June 28, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Approves Agreement Between Massachusetts Housing Provider and Prospective Tenant With Child Settling Claims of Discrimination”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has approved a Conciliation Agreement between the owner of rental properties in Springfield, MA, and a prospective tenant, resolving allegations that the owner refused to rent available units to the woman after learning that she has a child under the age of six. Read the agreement.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against families with children under the age of eighteen. Housing providers may exclude children only if the housing meets the Fair Housing Act’s exemption for housing for older persons.
“Families looking for safe, decent housing shouldn’t be penalized because they have children,” said Jeanine Worden, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.” Today’s agreement reaffirms HUD’s commitment to working to ensure that housing providers meet their obligation under the Fair Housing Act to treat all home seekers equally, including those who have children.”
The case came to HUD’s attention when a woman who has a child filed a complaint with HUD alleging that the owner of rental units she sought to lease refused to rent to her because her child is under the age of six. Massachusetts law requires landlords to de-lead any unit in which a child under six lives.
Under the terms of the agreement, the owner will: pay the woman $15,000, undergo fair housing training, include language in all future rental advertisements indicating that he complies with all federal and state fair housing laws, and test and de-lead his properties as necessary…
July 8, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Enters Into Consent Order with Carbrook Associates in Brooklyn, New York, Addressing Race and Disability Discrimination”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has reached an agreement with Carbrook Associates, LP (Carbrook), a provider of project-based subsidized housing that plans to exit HUD’s Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) program this October. The Consent Order resolves allegations that Carbrook discriminated on the basis of race and disability in the operation of its multifamily housing properties. The Consent Order requires Carbrook to make modifications so units and common areas are accessible to individuals with disabilities. It also requires Carbrook to provide families who are seeking housing an equal opportunity to apply for and live in units regardless of race, color, sex, religion, disability, and other characteristics protected by federal fair housing laws. Specifically, Carbrook must conduct affirmative fair housing marketing and modify its waitlist policies and procedures.
Since 1981, Carbrook has received federal funds to provide affordable housing to income-qualifying families in Brooklyn, New York. In the ten-year period prior to HUD’s findings, Carbrook received over $11.5 million in Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) from HUD to operate two affordable multifamily housing developments. Carbrook has elected to end participation in the PBRA program in October. Under these circumstances, to protect assisted residents and preserve affordable housing, federal law ensures that tenant protection vouchers will be available to all residents. Those provide mobile rental assistance that can travel with the family should they choose to leave the property. HUD also has tools to keep the project-based assistance viable at another location even after the opt-out at this property.
“HUD is committed to enforcing federal civil rights laws and will not tolerate housing providers taking federal housing funds while shirking their civil rights obligations and refusing to cooperate with federal civil rights investigations,” said Jeanine Worden, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s Consent Order demonstrates HUD’s commitment to ensuring individuals with disabilities and persons of color have an equal opportunity to live in affordable, accessible housing.”
HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) conducted an investigation of allegations that Carbrook engaged in race and disability discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). FHEO’s investigation found that Carbrook had failed to eliminate architectural barriers that limited access by individuals with disabilities and failed to cooperate in HUD’s investigation of Carbrook’s alleged practice of excluding tenants of racial and other minority groups, resulting in occupancy of its buildings by almost exclusively white tenants.
When Carbrook and HUD failed to resolve these allegations, in April 2021, HUD’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) filed a fund termination proceeding under Title VI and Section 504 with the Office of Hearings and Appeals. HUD deferred PBRA monthly voucher payments while the legal proceeding was pending due to the unresolved allegations of disability and race discrimination. The parties then were able to achieve a voluntary resolution.
“Fair housing laws prohibit discrimination based on disability and race, and the Department takes compliance with fair housing laws very seriously. We prefer to resolve fair housing matters cooperatively, but will take appropriate legal action to ensure compliance with fair housing laws,” said Sasha Samberg-Champion, Deputy General Counsel for Enforcement and Fair Housing.
Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance, such as PBRA, and requires that recipients of federal financial assistance bring their programs and activities into compliance with federal accessibility requirements. Title VI similarly prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
Under the terms of today’s Consent Order, Carbrook will:
- Ensure that at least 5 percent of its units are fully mobility accessible, and at least 2 percent are designated sensory accessible;
- Ensure that accessible units are appropriately tenanted;
- Hire an independent licensed architect to evaluate and design the accessible retrofitting of existing units and common areas;
- Create a new marketing plan and advertise to community groups least likely to apply across New York City;
- Ensure advertisements include a written statement that Carbrook does not discriminate on the basis of race color, national origin, disability, familial status, religion, or sex;
- Purge its existing waitlist, create a new waitlist of families, and alternate housing offers between the two waitlists while it receives PBRA;
- After it leaves the PBRA program in October 2021, comply with the requirements of the Fair Housing Act; and
- Report to HUD progress for the next two years on its compliance with the Consent Order.
The Consent Order also authorizes HUD to seek disgorgement (repayment) of any PBRA payments for failure to comply with its requirements.
July 8, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Charges California Mobile Home Park with Housing Discrimination”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has charged San Luis Rey Homes, Inc., a mobile home community in Oceanside, CA, with violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing to grant a resident with mental health disabilities an accommodation to allow her to keep an assistance animal. Read HUD’s charge.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from discriminating against individuals with disabilities, including refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices when such accommodations may be necessary to provide such individuals an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling. This includes permitting persons with disabilities to have service or assistance animals. It also requires housing providers that have “no-pets” policies to waive those for individuals who use assistance animals because of their disability.
“No one who relies on an assistance animal should be denied an accommodation to live with their animal,” said Jeanine Worden, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD remains committed to taking action whenever the owners of housing developments and other providers of housing fail to meet their obligations under the nation’s housing laws.”
“A ‘no pets’ policy does not allow a housing provider to deny people with disabilities the right to needed assistance animals,” said Sasha Samberg-Champion, Deputy General Counsel for Enforcement and Fair Housing. “HUD will enforce the Fair Housing Act to ensure that persons with disabilities have the reasonable accommodations they need to use and enjoy their homes.”
HUD’s charge alleges that San Luis Rey Homes, Inc., refused to allow a woman with mental health disabilities to have an assistance animal, a cat, in her mobile home. According to the charge, San Luis Rey Homes initially granted the woman a reasonable accommodation from its “no-pets” policy but later reneged, telling her that only service dogs were permitted. San Luis Rey Homes also allegedly sought to fine the woman for failure to comply with its policy.
July 21, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Makes Over $19 Million Available To Fight Housing Discrimination”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is making $19.4 million available to help HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) agencies conduct activities that will address discriminatory housing practices related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds, which are provided through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021, will allow private fair housing enforcement organizations to respond to fair housing inquires and complaints, conduct fair housing testing, and implement education and outreach activities related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will also be used to address fair housing issues affecting individuals and families experiencing housing instability, including those who may face displacement due to discriminatory evictions and foreclosures.
These ARP funds may be used by fair housing organizations to equitably expand housing enforcement services for underserved populations who need their services the most. Underserved populations include individuals making fair housing complaints who come from low-income backgrounds and persons with disabilities, as well as people of color, including African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian American and Pacific Islanders. Applicants for the funding may also propose new fair housing projects relating to discriminatory practices arising in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Housing stability will be a critically important part of America’s continuing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jeanine Worden, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “The funding we’re announcing today will give our fair housing partner organizations the financial resources they need to address various forms of discrimination that may occur as a result of rental and sales practices, as well as changing credit and real estate operations, related to the pandemic.”
This funding opportunity creates three funding levels for FHIP organizations, based on the average of their three previous annual operating budgets. The three funding award levels include:
Level I – up to $75,000 (for organizations with an average annual operating budget of less than $500,000.)
Level II – up to $125,000 (for organizations with an average annual operating budget of between $500,000 and $700,000.)
Level III – up to $350,000 (for organizations with an average annual operating budget of greater than $700,000.)
Applications must be received by August 18, 2021.
July 30, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Reaches Agreement with California City Settling Claims of Housing Discrimination Against Farmworkers”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has reached a Voluntary Compliance/Conciliation Agreement (VCA) with the City of Santa Maria, California, resolving allegations that the city’s enactment and enforcement of restrictions on housing for certain farmworker visa-holders in residential areas of the city violated the Fair Housing Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Section 109 of the Housing and Community Development Act. Read the agreement.
Pursuant to the VCA, the city agreed to immediately halt enforcement of the ordinance that created the restrictions, repeal the ordinance within 90 days, and refrain from enacting any similar restrictions. The ordinance imposed a discretionary conditional use permit requirement on housing for employees, which was directed at housing for H-2A foreign national farmworker visa-holders. The city also agreed to review fines imposed under the ordinance for potential refunds and hire an Employee Housing Resource Officer to receive and address complaints regarding discrimination and the quality and safety of occupied employee housing units going forward. Finally, the city agreed to undertake an effort to analyze and identify any other existing zoning laws that may be discriminatory, in violation of the Fair Housing Act and Title VI.
“Excluding residents from neighborhoods because of their race, color, or national origin violates fair housing laws,” said Jeanine Worden, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “There is a long history of segregation and exclusion of agricultural workers in this country, and it is time it stopped. The Fair Housing Act is clear – jurisdictions may not zone people out of neighborhoods or towns based on their race, color, or national origin.”
The Department opened a compliance review regarding the restrictions under Title VI and Section 109 of the Housing and Community Development Act in April 2020. The Department filed a Secretary-Initiated Complaint on August 26, 2020, alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act. The text and legislative history of the ordinance at issue make clear that the restrictions were directed solely at housing for certain farmworker visa-holders, over 90 percent of whom are from Mexico…
July 30, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “Federal Housing Authority Extends Single Family Eviction Moratorium”. From the press release:
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) on July 30, 2021, announced an extension of its moratorium on evictions for foreclosed borrowers and their occupants through September 30, 2021, and noted the expiration of the foreclosure moratorium on July 31, 2021. This extension is part of President Biden’s announcement on July 29 that federal agencies will use their authority to extend their respective eviction moratoria through the end of September, which will provide continued protection for households living in federally-insured, single-family properties. FHA’s eviction moratorium extension will avoid displacement of foreclosed borrowers and other occupants who need more time to access suitable housing options after foreclosure.
“We must continue to do everything within our authority to make sure that foreclosed borrowers who are impacted by the pandemic have the time and resources to secure safe and stable housing, whether it’s in their current homes, or by obtaining alternative housing options,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing Lopa P. Kolluri. “We don’t want to see any individuals or families displaced unnecessarily while trying to recover from the pandemic.”
With today’s announcement, mortgage servicers must continue to halt evictions for FHA Single Family Title II forward and Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) foreclosed properties, except for those properties that are legally vacant or abandoned.
Mortgage servicers may initiate or continue foreclosures in accordance with FHA requirements once the Single Family foreclosure moratorium expires as planned on July 31, 2021, but may not evict a foreclosed borrower or other occupant.
Important Information for Borrowers Facing Foreclosure
FHA urges those who are behind on their mortgage payments or are having difficulty complying with the terms of their reverse mortgage or Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), and have not yet contacted their mortgage servicer, to do so immediately. By contacting their servicer, borrowers can obtain a mortgage payment forbearance or a HECM extension. For FHA forward mortgages, FHA also urges borrowers to engage with their mortgage servicer when their mortgage servicer contacts them about the new COVID-19 Advance Loan Modification or how to bring their mortgage current. Borrowers who are seeking more information on the options available to them should also consider contacting a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.
August 6, 2021: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a press release titled: “HUD Awards $30 Million To Help Low-Income Elderly Homeowners Age In Place”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded $30 million to 32 nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and public housing authorities to assist in undertaking comprehensive programs that make safety and functional home modifications and limited repairs to meet the needs of low-income elderly homeowners that allow them to age in place.
Provided through HUD’s Older Adults Home Modification Program (OAHMP), these grants allow low-income seniors to stay in their homes through low-cost home modifications that will reduce older adults’ risk of falling. Examples of these home modifications include installation of grab bars, railings, and lever-handled doorknobs and faucets, as well as the installation of adaptive equipment, such as non-slip strips for tub/shower or stairs.
These investments will enable older adults to remain in their homes – to “age in place” – rather than move to nursing homes or other assisted care facilities.
Experienced nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and public housing authorities that received funding will deliver home modification services to more than 5,000 qualified beneficiaries and serve communities with substantial rural populations.
“Today we are renewing our commitment to improving the lives of older adults,” said HUD Secretary, Marcia L. Fudge. “The funding provided today will enable low-income elderly persons to remain in their homes and will reduce their risk of falling, improve their general safety, increase accessibility, and improve their functional abilities in their home.”
“There is a strong connection between health and housing,” said Matthew Ammon, Director of HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes. “These grants provide a critical resource to communications to make low-cost, low barrier, high impact home modifications tailored to the needs of the residents.”…
August 12, 2021: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) posted a press release titled: “HUD and FHFA Announce Collaboration To Advance Fair Housing and Fair Lending Enforcement”. From the press release:
Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) (collectively, the Agencies) entered into a first-of-its-kind collaborative agreement regarding fair housing and fair lending coordination. Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the two Agencies will focus on enhancing their enforcement of the Fair Housing Act, which HUD is primarily charged with administering and enforcing, and their oversight of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac (the Enterprises), and the Federal Home Loan Banks (collectively,the regulated entities) all of which FHFA regulates.
The MOU is an important mechanism that strengthens the Agencies’ ability to enforce fair housing and fair lending requirements by promoting information sharing, coordination on investigations, compliance reviews, and the ongoing monitoring of the Enterprises. The Agencies anticipate that the MOU will lead to stronger oversight that will help advance vigorous fair housing enforcement that can begin to redress our nation’s history of discriminatory housing practices.
“Today’s signing is an important and historic step to advance and strengthen the enforcement of our nation’s fair housing and fair lending requirements,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “FHFA oversees entities that have significant control over a large share of the mortgage market. Stepping up our collective fair housing oversight of their activities will make an enormous impact on lives and communities. I am proud to partner with Acting Director Thompson on this effort and advance the work that President Biden called upon us to do. We are prioritizing the work required to remove barriers that have created separate and unequal neighborhoods and limited access to housing opportunity and wealth building. I look forward to working with FHFA to make a meaningful impact in this space.”
“FHFA does not tolerate housing discrimination,” said FHFA Acting Director Sandra L. Thompson. “Today’s MOU allows FHFA and HUD to share information and resources to improve fair lending oversight over the mortgage finance system. I am pleased to work with Secretary Fudge on the important work of fulfilling the Fair Housing Act’s promise of equal access to safe, decent, and affordable housing for all Americans.”
August 18, 2021: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) posted a press release titled: “HUD Announces $2.7 Billion Funding Opportunity To Help People Experiencing Homelessness”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is making $2.656 billion in FY 2021 Continuum of Care Program (CoC) competitive funding available to homeless services organizations across the country for supportive services and housing programs for people experiencing homelessness…
…”The safety of a stable home is essential during the COVID-19 pandemic and this Administration is committed to meeting the needs of more than half a million Americans who are struggling with homelessness on any given day,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “Coupled with the historic resources in the American Rescue Plan, the Continuum of Care Program grants made available through this announcement will provide communities with the resources needed to ensure that more Americans have the safety and stability of a home.”
The Continuum of Care Program is the largest source of federal grant funding for homeless services and housing programs serving people experiencing homelessness. By statute, CoC Program grants must be awarded through an annual NOFO to which nearly 400 Continuum of Care communities apply for grants for approximately 7,000 homeless service projects. This includes both renewals of existing grants and grants for new projects.
Due to COVID-19, HUD was granted authority to renew grants without a NOFO in 2020. Therefore, this NOFO will be the first CoC Program NOFO since the COVID-19 pandemic.
As with prior NOFOs, Continuum’s of Care will have the opportunity to renew existing projects, apply for new projects, and to reallocate resources from lower performing projects to better serve people experiencing homelessness. However, this year’s NOFO includes some new opportunities. The FY 2021 CoC Program NOFO will, for the first time, invite Indian Tribes and Tribally Designated Housing entities (TDHE) to apply for grants through the CoC program. Additionally, the NOFO will provide $102 million for new rapid re-housing, supportive services and other activities critical to assist survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
As the first CoC Program NOFO of the Biden-Harris Administration, this NOFO reflects the Administration’s commitment to equity and evidence-based solutions to address homelessness. Specifically, HUD is seeking projects that:
- End homelessness for all persons experiencing homelessness
- Use a Housing First approach
- Reduce unsheltered homelessness and reduce the criminalization of homelessness
- Improve system performance
- Partner with housing and health agencies to leverage and coordinate American Rescue Plan resources
- Advance racial equity and addressing racial disparities in homelessness; and
- Engage people with lived experience of homelessness in decision-making
Applications for the FY 2021 CoC Program NOFO are due to HUD on November 16, 2021.
August 26, 2021: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) posted a press release titled: “HUD Awards Nearly $95 Million to Protect Families From Lead and Other Home Health And Safety Hazards”. From the press release:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded nearly $95 million to 28 state and local government agencies in 19 states to protect children and families from lead-based paint and other home health hazards.
HUD is providing these grants through its Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction (LBPHR) Grant Program to identify and clean up dangerous lead in low-income families’ older homes. These grants also include more than $12 million from HUD’s Healthy Homes Supplemental funding to help communities with housing-related health and safety hazards in addition to lead-based paint hazards.
“With these grants, HUD makes it clear that ensuring healthy and safe homes for families is a top priority,” said Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “A healthy home provides a foundation for a healthy life, and that is why HUD is committed to protecting families from lead and other home health hazards, and providing healthy and sustainable housing.”
These investments will protect families and children by targeting significant lead and health hazards in over 3,700 homes of low-income families for which other resources are not available…
August 27, 2021: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) posted a press release titled: “HUD Announces Over $171 Million in Funding Opportunities For Native American Communities Across The Nation”. From the press release:
This week the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it is making over $171 million available for Indian Country. This includes $95 million for the FY21 Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) Competitive program that helps Tribes maintain, develop, and operate affordable housing (Read HUD’s FY21 IHBG Comp NOFO) and $76.5 million for the FY21 Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) to develop community facilities, carry out public works projects, and provide economic development assistance (Read HUDs FY 21 ICDBG NOFO). This funding primarily benefits low- and moderate-income persons in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
“HUD is committed to ensuring our American Indian and Alaska Native communities have the resources they need to ensure affordable housing and critical infrastructure projects,”
said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “The funding announced today will further support Tribal communities’ ability to Build Back Better and address the housing needs of low-income individuals across Indian Country.”
Applications for the FY 2021 ICDBG Program NOFO are due to HUD on October 25, 2021, and the FY 2021 IHBG Competitive Program NOFO are to HUD on December 1, 2021. Tribes and Tribally-Designated Housing Entities (TDHEs) are encouraged to read the NOFOs for additional information.
August 27, 2021: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) posted a press release titled: “Secretary of the Treasury, and Attorney General Send Letter to Governors, Mayors and State Courts Urging Use of Emergency Rental Assistance”. From the press release:
Today, U.S. Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Marcia L. Fudge, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen, and Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice Merrick B. Garland sent a letter to state and local government leaders addressing the eviction moratorium…
…Governors, Mayors, County Executives, and Chief Justices/State Court Administrators:
We are writing to request your urgent help preventing unnecessary evictions during the pandemic. Our bottom line is this: No one should be evicted before they have the chance to apply for rental assistance, and no eviction should move forward until that application has been processed.
Though over 172 million Americans are now fully vaccinated, and COVID-19 deaths are down over 80 percent compared to January of this year, significant work remains to defeat the virus and rebuild our economy. The spread of the Delta variant has led to a rise in cases, many Americans are just getting back on their feet from the economic downturn, and millions remain at risk of eviction. With lives on the line, it is imperative that we act-at all levels of government-to keep people in their homes and prevent a surge in COVID-19, as well as the long-term economic scarring and poor health consequences that come with eviction.
The Treasury Department remains laser-focused on partnering with state and local governments to get Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) funds out the door and into the hands of renters and landlords, including through recent guidance emphasizing the flexibility grantees have to simplify application processes and accelerate the delivery of assistance.
The Department of Justice recently sent a letter to state court Chief Justices and court administrators encouraging them to implement eviction diversion programs that delay or stop eviction proceedings until renters and landlords have had the chance to apply for rental assistance. The Attorney General and Associate Attorney General also met with over 35 Chief Justices from around the country to listen to their concerns and discuss ways the federal government can support implementation of these programs.
Similarly, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has required public housing authorities and properties receiving federal project-based rental assistance to offer protections that will provide tenants with a fair chance to receive emergency rent relief and to take other steps to help prevent evictions. Our three Departments are working closely together and with other agencies across the federal government to make rental assistance available to households in need.
We also know we cannot address this challenge alone. State and local governments play a crucial role as administrators of programs like ERA and as leaders of their own housing agencies, judiciary systems, and other components of government that are essential to keeping Americans in their homes. Today, we are urging you to exercise your own authorities-as states, cities, and counties representing millions of Americans already have-to take action to prevent unnecessary evictions, including:
- Enacting state and local eviction moratoriums during the remainder of the public health emergency. Six states and the District of Columbia already have eviction moratoriums in place. As the President called for, we are encouraging all other state and local governments to use their legal authorities to appropriately put in place or extend their own eviction moratoriums.
- Working with state and local courts to require landlords to apply for ERA before they commence eviction proceedings. State and local governments or courts should ensure that all tenants have the opportunity to apply for rental assistance before any proceedings begin, and landlords seeking eviction should be required to apply for rental assistance first-a policy already implemented in some states and localities.
- Staying eviction proceedings while an ERA application is pending. By taking this step, as some states and localities already have, courts can ensure that tenants have a fair opportunity to apply for federal aid and that unnecessary evictions are avoided. While we call on courts to stay eviction proceedings, state and local governments must also speed the delivery of rental assistance to meet courts’ deadlines.
- Using ERA and American Rescue Plan State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to support the right to counsel and eviction diversion strategies. Tenants are more likely to avoid eviction and remain stably housed when they have access to legal representation. Legal counsel can also aid in the successful completion of ERA applications. We encourage state and local governments to use ERA and Fiscal Recovery Funds to launch right to counsel programs and invest in court navigators and diversion programs.
- Helping tenants navigate the ERA application process. The Treasury Department has issued recent guidance streamlining the ERA application process, for example, by making clear that grantees can rely on self-attestation from tenants for certain eligibility requirements. State and local governments can continue to build on these efforts by removing unnecessary barriers to ERA funds.
The ERA program and the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds have provided state and local governments tens of billions of dollars to support renters and landlords; it is critical that renters be given the chance to receive that aid before being subject to eviction. Many state and local governments are working hard to get rental assistance to those in need as quickly as possible, and these policies will help ensure renters are not evicted before those resources reach them.
We applaud the efforts of the state and local governments that have already taken these and other actions to prevent unnecessary evictions, as we know many of you have. However, we also know more must be done and that effective and comprehensive policies to prevent unnecessary evictions have never been more urgent. We stand ready to partner with and support you in any way we can to protect renters and landlords and make programs like ERA as effective as possible.
Thank you for all you are doing and will continue to do to keep Americans in their homes. We will continue to engage with you over the coming days and weeks as we take on this challenge, and we welcome your input as we work together to prevent unnecessary evictions and help households in need reach the other side of this pandemic safely.
HUD Continues to Fight Housing Discrimination is a post written by Jen Thorpe and is not allowed to be copied to other websites.