Following the panic created by the Covid-19, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), on April 20, 2020, announced that it would award $1.5 million in Partnership and Special Enforcement Effort Funds to HUD Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) Agencies to support COVID-19 education activities.
The fund will be provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) of 2020, which the President signed into law intending to provide federal agencies with enough resources to combat COVID-19.
“The Fair Housing Act embodies the spirit of this great nation where everyone is entitled to equal opportunity and respect,” said Secretary Carson. “As we battle this invisible enemy, we need to be attentive to the heightened protections and needs of a family, friends, and neighbors who are older, have disabilities, or pre-existing medical conditions. We also need to honor and support, not evict out of fear, the medical professionals and caregivers who selflessly go to the front line to serve and heal. We must be creative and compassionate to keep each other safely sheltered, healthy and prepared. Right now, in the spirit of fair housing, we need to be the best neighbors we can be for one another.”
About the Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP)
“Addressing potential fair housing issues related to COVID-19 will require resources that extend beyond the federal government,” said Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “FHAP agencies not only have expertise in conducting a range of fair housing enforcement activities, but they are also especially attuned to how particular issues are affecting their communities.”
FHA was enacted in 1968 as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act (P.L. 90-284) and prohibits discrimination in sales, rental, or financing of housing based on race, gender, sex, color, religion, nationality, family status or physical disability. The HUD, through its Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO), receives and investigates the complaints under the FHA and determines if there’s reasonable cause to grant that discrimination has occurred.
Additionally, the state and local housing agencies can also investigate complaints based on the federal, state, and local fair housing laws. Suppose discrimination has been proven in a state or locality that has its own similar fair housing enforcement agency, HUD must refer the complaint to that agency. To facilitate a smooth operation of the HUD, FHEO has administered two programs to provide federal funding to assist the state, local, and private fair housing organizations.
The Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) is one such program that channels federal funds to the state and local agencies certified by the HUD as having their laws, procedures, and remedies that are deemed substantial and equivalent to the FHA. The funding channeled through the program is used for such activities as capacity building, processing complaints, administrative costs, and training.
Another program is the Fair Housing Initiative Program (FHIP), which funds the eligible entities, most of which are private nonprofit organizations. The funds channeled under this program are used for such activities as complaint investigations, including testing (comparing outcomes when members of a protected class attempt to obtain housing with outcomes for those, not in a protected class), education, raising awareness, and capacity building.
Such partnership funds allow the FHAP agencies to utilize the services of the individuals and/or public, private, for-profit, or nonprofit organizations that have the experience to enforce the federal, state, and local fair housing laws. Also, the Special Enforcement Effort Funds enhance the fair housing enforcement activities of the FHAP agencies.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development will issue detailed instructions on how the agencies will utilize the funds and process for application. Currently, there are about 75 FHAP agencies scattered all across the United States.
The COVID-19 Pandemic is not an excuse to Get Lazy
Earlier, HUD had issued another $40 million to the various fair housing organizations across the nation in a bid to test compliance with the FHA. The monies were provided to help the people who believe they have fallen victims of housing discrimination as well as to educate the public and housing providers on fair housing laws.
Even during a pandemic, the fair housing laws are still in place, and they need to be upheld. The grants by HUD or the federal government and their management must remain very vigilant and train the employees to continue to follow the fair housing laws. The best defense to an FHA complaint is to make sure that it was never filed in the first place.
In response to the COVID-19, The Power Is Now Media is always alert to make sure that we bring you up to date information and the latest developments not just in our state of California, but across the country. Persons who believe they have experienced housing discrimination may file a complaint of discrimination by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 or visiting How to File a Complaint on HUD’s website. Materials and assistance are available for persons with limited English proficiency. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may contact the Department using the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions of Eric Lawrence Frazier are his own and do not necessarily represent views of First Bank or any organization affiliated with Eric Lawrence Frazier, or the Power Is Now Media Inc. First Bank is an Equal Credit Opportunity Lender. Eric Lawrence Frazier MBA is also a Vice President and Mortgage Advisor with First Bank. NMLS#461807 and a California Licensed Real Estate Broker DRE# 01143482. Email: Eric.firstname.lastname@example.org. Ph: 714- 475-8629.
Also Note: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.
Eric Lawrence Frazier MBA
President and CEO
The Power Is Now Media Inc.