On November 3, 2021, the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) awarded $13.6 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to enable 51 HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) agencies to conduct a wide range of fair housing enforcement, education, and outreach activities related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the activities that will be conducted by the agencies is addressing discriminatory practices in underserved communities (i.e., minority neighborhoods).
The funds, which were awarded under FHIP’s Private Enforcement Initiative (PEI), are the first ARP competitive grants that focus directly on the unequal impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on communities of color, low-income communities, and other vulnerable populations. Specific activities that will be carried out include responding to housing inquiries, investigating fair housing complaints, conducting fair housing testing, providing legal assistance, conducting education and outreach, and covering costs associated with providing services related to the pandemic.
Another $5,757 million in ARP funding will be made available to eligible applicants that did not receive funding in this first round.
Organizations in 26 states and DC received funds, ranging from $75,000 to $350,000. The types of organizations that received funding include legal aid agencies, fair housing testing agencies, and educational organizations. New York and Ohio both received six awards while California and Illinois each received four. Other states receiving grants are:
- District of Columbia
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
Housing operators in these states should expect increased fair housing testing and compliance actions during the upcoming 12 months as a result of these grants.