Fair Housing Centers Fight Discrimination with Limited Resources
March 5, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis
Shanna L. Smith, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, presenting findings from the National Commission on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity report at a February Capitol Hill briefing.
Every year, an estimated four million incidents of housing discrimination occur against African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans, according to the National Fair Housing Alliance.
However, the private organizations that are authorized to investigate housing discrimination complaints are often working with limited resources.
A federal program called the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) provides the funding that allows these organizations to conduct investigations of housing discrimination complaints. The program also funds educational efforts such as outreach to real estate companies, agents, landlords, and consumers about fair housing laws.
However, a recent report by the National Commission on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity found that while these organizations process the majority of housing discrimination complaints, FHIP has not been funded at a level that allows them to fully perform their enforcement duties.
A bill currently pending in Congress, the Housing Fairness Act, will increase funds for FHIP. It also provides funds for nationwide testing to be conducted every two years to determine patterns of housing discrimination.