OKLAHOMA CITY – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded $750,000 to fair housing organizations across Oklahoma working to confront violations of the nation’s landmark Fair Housing Act and help end housing discrimination. (see grant chart below). Nationally, more than $40 million was awarded to organizations across the nation.
Oklahoma Fair Housing Initiatives 2019 Grant Awards
|Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.*||$300,000|
|Metropolitan Fair Housing Council of Oklahoma, Inc||$300,000|
|Metropolitan Fair Housing Council of Oklahoma, Inc.||$125,000|
*Located in Opportunity Zone.
Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.
FY2019 Private Enforcement Initiative – Multi-Year Component – $300,000.00
Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc. (LASO) will use its grant to foster a community of equal housing opportunity in Oklahoma. LASO will use its grant to expand its promotion, understanding, and enforcement of fair housing laws within the most segregated, rural, and underserved locations in Oklahoma. LASO will utilize the extensive network it has created with Tribes, rural counties, senior advocates, re-entry service providers, and substance abuse providers. This project will address the denial of fair housing choice in the context of equal housing opportunity and access. LASO has analyzed the local fair housing landscape by using data, anecdotes, and protected class intelligence shared with LASO to: 1) recognize, identify and assess patterns of integration and segregation in both rural and urban Oklahoma; 2) assess racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty; and 3) assess disparities in access to opportunity found in rural areas where the availability of housing is limited and all too often denied to protected classes leading to a disproportionate need for housing in rural Oklahoma. Project activities will continue to affirmatively further fair housing through investigations of inquiries; prosecution of complaints; testing throughout the state; and education of Oklahoma households, stakeholders, and housing providers through the development of multilingual fair housing education materials and presentations.
Metropolitan Fair Housing Council of Oklahoma, Inc
FY2019 Private Enforcement Initiative – Multi-Year Component – $300,000.00
Since 1979, the Metropolitan Fair Housing Council (MFHC) of Oklahoma, Inc. has served as the only staffed, full-service, private nonprofit, qualified fair housing enforcement and advocacy organization in Oklahoma. MFHC will use its grant to affirmatively further fair housing in Oklahoma by expanding its current enforcement activities to provide more victims of housing discrimination increased access to remedies. Specific grant activities will include: complaint and reasonable accommodation request intake; testing; claim investigation and referral to HUD; and partnering with public and private organizations to educate low-and moderate-income persons, persons with disabilities, the LGBTQ community, veterans, the elderly, minorities, housing providers, faith-based communities, families with children, persons who are non-English speaking or have limited English proficiency (LEP), persons from low-opportunity areas, and natural disaster victims about fair housing/fair lending remedies to help remove barriers to fair housing choice, reduce the impact of historic housing discrimination, prevent foreclosure and homelessness, expand knowledge of renter’s rights, and increase rental and home ownership opportunities.
Metropolitan Fair Housing of Oklahoma, Inc
FY2019 Education and Outreach Initiative – General Component – $125,000.00
Metropolitan Fair Housing of Oklahoma, Inc., through its Metropolitan Fair Housing Council (MFHC), will use its grant to expand and increase knowledge of fair housing rights and access to HUD fair housing enforcement remedies for Oklahoma consumers. MFHC will conduct a free Fair Housing Laws & Litigation Symposium for attorneys and realtors; and conduct 20 free fair housing and fair lending seminars for the community (targeting low- and moderate-income persons, persons with disabilities, the LGBTQ community, veterans, the elderly, minorities, housing providers, faith-based communities, families with children, persons who are non-English speaking or have limited English proficiency (LEP), and natural disaster victims) about fair housing and fair lending practices to expand knowledge of fair housing enforcement resources for Oklahomans complaining of unfair housing practices. MFHC will also incorporate printed materials into its outreach plan by publishing 20 fair housing and fair lending advertisements in underserved communities in English and two other languages; producing two fair housing bus stop advertisements; and creating and producing theOklahoma Guide to Accessible and Affordable Housing as an educational tool for people with disabilities.
HUD’s grants are provided through the Department’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) and the Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) to help people who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination and to educate the public and housing providers on the nation’s fair housing laws.
In Oklahoma, $300,000 of the funding announced today is being awarded to grantees located in Opportunity Zones. Created under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Opportunity Zones aim to stimulate long-term investments in low-income communities. Nationally, more than $1 million of the funding announced today goes to grantees in Opportunity Zones.
“HUD is committed to supporting efforts to rid discrimination from our society,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson.“ The grants we are awarding today will enable our fair housing partner organizations to combat unlawful policies and behavior and foster practices that ensure everyone has access to safe, affordable housing, free from discrimination.”
HUD’s FHIP grants support a wide range of fair housing enforcement, and education and outreach activities. The grants will allow the groups to provide fair housing enforcement through testing in the rental and sales markets, file fair housing complaints with HUD, and conduct investigations. Additionally, the education and outreach activities these organizations will conduct will help to educate the public, housing providers, and local governments about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.
The FHIP grants issued today are provided under HUD’s Education and Outreach (EOI), Fair Housing Organization (FHOI) and Private Enforcement Initiative (PEI) grant categories.
- Private Enforcement Initiative grants – These awards help nonprofit fair housing enforcement organizations carry out investigations and other enforcement activities to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices.
- Education and Outreach Initiative grants – HUD awards these grants to groups that educate the public and housing providers about their rights and responsibilities under federal law or state and local fair housing laws that are substantially equivalent to the Fair Housing Act.
- Fair Housing Organizations Initiative grants – HUD awards these grants to help build the capacity and effectiveness of non-profit fair housing organizations to continue and enhance enforcement of the Fair Housing Act.
The grants help Qualified Fair Housing Enforcement Organizations, Fair Housing Enforcement Organizations, public and private non-profit organizations or institutions, and other public or private entities whose enforcement and education and outreach activities help to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices. HUD is also awarding $1.5 million in Partnership Funds to HUD Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) agencies. FHAP organizations are state and local government agencies that enforce local fair housing laws that are substantially equivalent to the Fair Housing Act.
Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).