NFHA: Private Nonprofits Handle Bulk Of Fair Housing Complaints

-three private nonprofit fair housing organizations processed nearly twice as many complaints last year as all government agencies tasked with enforcing the federal Fair Housing Act, according to annual data compiled by the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA). Private organizations investigated 19,924 complaints, while federal, state and local agencies combined processed 10,289. In the NFHA's 2010 Fair Housing Trends Report, the organization applauds the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) for their recommitment to addressing violations of the federal Fair Housing Act, but says deficiencies in fair housing enforcement remain. ‘For the second year in a row, the American public reported over 30,000 incidents of housing discrimination,’ says NFHA President and CEO Shanna L. Smith. ‘Although this is over a 10% increase in the number of annual reported violations in recent years, it is barely a drop in the bucket compared to the millions of incidents of housing discrimination that we know occur each year.’ According to the report, the federal government has taken positive steps to address unfairness in the housing market. Starting with a landmark settlement requiring that Westchester County, N.Y., construct affordable housing in its most segregated neighborhoods, HUD began to exercise its long-held but barely utilized authority to withhold funds from municipalities that discriminate against people protected by the federal Fair Housing Act. The DOJ, meanwhile, filed its highest number of Fair Housing Act lawsuits since 2002 and established a dedicated fair-lending unit to investigate lending discrimination. A backlog of fair-housing complaints continues to exist, the NFHA says, adding that private nonprofit fair-housing organizations – the primary entities enforcing the law on the ground – are struggling to stay afloat due to inadequate federal funding. ‘In order for the goals of the Fair Housing Act to be met, we must see a serious commitment from Congress and the [Obama] administration to enforce the act in a systemic way rather than allowing individual case files to gather dust,’ says Smith. ‘Existing laws must be enforced, and they must be strengthened to include sexual orientation, gender identity and source of income.’ To read NFHA's 2010 Trends Report, go to [link=][/link]. SOURCE: [link=]National Fair Housing Alliance


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