The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is distributing $47.4 million to housing organizations to help promote fair housing nationwide–new funding the National Association of REALTORS(R) has been advocating for to combat housing discrimination. The grants are being awarded to 120 national and local fair housing organizations.
“The fair housing groups HUD funds are a critical piece of combating housing discrimination,” said Jeanine Worden, HUD’s acting assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity. The new grants would enable 120 fair housing groups to combat housing practices that violate the Fair Housing Act, she said.
The grants will go toward numerous fair housing efforts, including investigating and litigating fair housing complaints, testing to identify discrimination in the rental and sales markets, educating the public and housing providers about the Fair Housing Act, and building on processes and outreach of nonprofit fair housing organizations, particularly those focusing on the rights of underserved populations, including rural and immigrant populations.
NAR has long advocated for additional funding for HUD’s fair housing enforcement and education efforts. “As stewards of the right to own, use, and transfer private property, our livelihoods and businesses as REALTORS(R) depend upon an open housing market free from discrimination,” NAR has noted in lobbying on Capitol Hill for an increase in funds for these purposes. “NAR is firmly committed to the enforcement of fair housing laws.”
Also with the goal of promoting fair housing, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced on Tuesday that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will submit equitable housing finance plans to the agency by the end of the year. These plans, which will be updated annually, will identify and seek to address barriers to sustainable housing opportunities. The FHFA will also require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to submit annual progress reports on the action they take on the plans. Read more at FHFA.gov.
“For generations, discriminatory practices like redlining have prevented communities of color from building wealth through homeownership,” said Sandra L. Thompson, the FHFA’s acting director. “By identifying the barriers to equitable and sustainable housing finance opportunities and setting goals for addressing those barriers, the Enterprises, consistent with safety and soundness, can responsibly reduce the racial and ethnic disparities in homeownership and wealth that still exist today.”