Congress is about to begin its annual appropriations process when decisions are made about which federal programs get funded and at what levels. We need to mobilize now and over the next few months to ensure that we engage Washington on the importance of federal resources to bolster local fair housing enforcement.
Civil rights and fair housing agencies are deeply disappointed the Fiscal Responsibility Act recaptured $3.3 million of the $20 million for critically necessary local fair housing enforcement secured as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Local fair housing enforcement agencies are the first responders to the millions of housing discrimination incidents faced by people with disabilities, families with children, women, communities of color, LGBTQIA, and more every year. In 2021, there were 31,216 fair housing complaints received by private non-profit fair housing organizations, HUD, FHAP agencies and the DOJ, an 8.7% increase over complaints filed in 2020, with fewer agencies reporting. Private fair housing organizations processed more than 2.6 times the number of complaints (72.64 percent) processed by state, local, and federal government agencies combined, and FHAP-funded local and state government agencies handled 20.54% (6,413) of reported complaints. Together, FHIP and FHAP funded organizations investigate and handle 93% of reported instances of housing discrimination, each playing an indispensable role in making whole individuals and families who have felt the destabilizing effects of housing and lending discrimination. Where you live matters, determining proximity to jobs, healthcare, schools, transportation options, and recreation that all families need to thrive and contribute to their communities and the national economy. That is why Congress has historically supported — on a bipartisan basis — the programs that address housing and lending discrimination in local communities: the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) and the Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP).
In Congress, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Al Green (D-TX) are leading FY24 appropriations letters to increase FHIP, FHAP, and staff at HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO). The letters call for:
Act now to ensure Congress appropriates increased funding for local fair housing enforcement as the nation continues to grapple with a fair and affordable housing crisis.