When reading about fair housing enforcement, you've probably come across the term "FHIP" but may not know exactly what it means. These letters stand for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program, which was established by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1987, as amended by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on January 21 that it awarded $26.3 million under the FHIP to 98 fair housing organizations and other non-profit agencies in 37 states and the District of Columbia.
What's all this money used for?
HUD funds fair housing organizations and other non-profits through the FHIP to provide direct assistance to people who believe they've been the victims of Fair Housing Act (FHA) violations. The recipient organizations help people identify government agencies that handle complaints of housing discrimination, and conduct preliminary investigation of claims (including sending testers to the properties in question).
In addition, the FHIP promotes fair housing laws and equal opportunity awareness through four initiatives. One of the initiatives, the Administrative Enforcement Initiative (AEI), helps state and local governments that administer laws similar to the FHA establish projects that broaden an agency's range of enforcement and compliance activities. According to HUD, there are currently no funds available for the AEI initiative.
The other three initiatives provide funds and competitive grants to organizations that qualify:
- The Fair Housing Organizations Initiative (FHOI). The FHOI provides funds to help non-profit fair housing organizations handle fair housing enforcement and education initiatives more effectively. HUD recently announced that it awarded $21.1 million in grants under the FHOI this year.
- The Private Enforcement Initiative (PEI). The PEI offers a range of assistance to the nationwide network of fair housing groups. This initiative funds non-profit fair housing organizations to carry out testing and enforcement activities to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices. HUD recently announced that it awarded $3.1 million in grants under the PEI this year.
- The Education and Outreach Initiative (EOI). The EOI provides funding to state and local government agencies and non-profit organizations for initiatives that bring awareness and understanding to equal opportunity in housing means and that increase housing providers' familiarity with FHA compliance. HUD recently announced that it awarded $2.1 million in grants under the EOI this year.
Do you think the FHIP funds go to a worthy cause? Is $26.3 million too much or too little?
What do you think?