The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it is awarding $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 funds are being provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) of 2020, which President Trump signed into law to provide federal agencies with the resources needed 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 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.”
“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, they are especially attuned to how particular issues are affecting their communities.”
Partnership funds allow FHAP agencies to utilize the services of individuals and/or public, private, for-profit, or not-for-profit organizations that have expertise in enforcing federal, state, and local fair housing laws. Similarly, Special Enforcement Effort funds enhance the fair housing enforcement activities of FHAP agencies
Examples of fundable activities include: Partnering with grassroots, faith-based or other community-based organizations to conduct COVID-19 related education and outreach to people of different backgrounds on how to live together peacefully in the same housing complex, neighborhood, or community; or procurement and/or development of up-to-date or advanced technology to do COVID-19 related education and outreach using on-line platforms and social media.
HUD will issue detailed instructions to agencies regarding the availability of funds and process for application. FHAP agencies are state and local agencies that enforce state and local laws that are substantially equivalent to the federal Fair Housing Act. Currently there are approximately 75 FHAP agencies operating throughout the nation.