A Week Of Records At HUD

eek has been a busy one for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In addition to rolling out a new media campaign Monday, HUD says two agency-specific records – one good and one bad – have been broken. First, the good: $3.6 billion of competitive funds have been made available for application – the largest amount of funds available at one time ever in HUD's history. Made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the $3.6 billion will fund public and Native American housing, energy-efficiency retrofits and neighborhood stabilization. Three-quarters of HUD's ARRA funds were allocated those funds within days of President Obama signing the act into law. The remaining 25% of HUD's ARRA funds are being awarded through a competitive grant process. ‘We are fostering innovation through these competitive Recovery Act grants because so many cities and states have creative ideas," HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a statement. "We are working quickly to create jobs and improve housing but also lay the groundwork for long-term change.’ Next, the bad: A record 10,552 fair-housing discrimination complaints were filed in fiscal year 2008, according HUD's annual [link=http://www.hud.gov/content/releases/fy2008annual-rpt.pdf][u]State of Fair Housing report[/u][/link]. As for the agency's State of Fair Housing report, which is produced for Congress, 44% of the complaints were filed by persons with disabilities. Thirty-five percent, or 3,699, of the complaints alleged discrimination based on race. The report describes HUD's enforcement activities that resulted in housing and monetary relief for individuals subjected to illegal discrimination, as well as fines and required education for entities charged with discrimination. ‘Despite progress, housing discrimination continues in America," says John Trasvina, HUD assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity. "We must put a stop to it and stand up for anyone who is unlawfully denied a home of their own. Fighting against housing discrimination and affirmatively furthering fair housing are twin priorities of HUD and the Obama administration.’ On the topic of discriminatory practices, HUD, along with the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), has unveiled a national media campaign to fight foreclosures and discrimination. The campaign informs consumers about alternatives to foreclosure, how to avoid predatory loan terms and how to recognize and report rental discrimination. NFHA's members nationwide, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and other groups will assist with distributing the materials. SOUR


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