The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) is effectively identifying discrimination cases that require government intervention, according to a June 6 report from HUD. The study, the first in-depth look at the FHIP in fifteen years, concludes that FHIP grantees and their work are saving HUD valuable time and money.
Organizations that receive funding from FHIP assist people who believe they have been the victims of housing discrimination. They partner with HUD to help identify government agencies that handle complaints of housing discrimination. They also conduct preliminary investigation of claims, including sending "testers" to properties suspected of practicing housing discrimination. Testers are minorities and whites with the same financial qualifications who evaluate whether housing providers treat equally-qualified people differently.
The study found that:
- FHIP grantees reduced the burden on HUD and state and local housing agencies to investigate claims and determine which had merit. Only 15% of the claims investigated by FHIP grantees were reported to HUD, while 43% were found to have no discriminatory practices and 27% of cases were resolved without being reported to HUD. The report found that complaints filtered through FHIP grantees were more likely to result in binding legal action, legal conciliation or cause finding.
- FHIP grantee organizations remain the main vehicle for testing landlords and realtors for discriminatory housing practices, and participate in 40% to 60% of “complex cases,”--which HUD defines as fair lending, design and construction, pattern and practice, and zoning cases.
The study also documents the history of FHIP and analyzes the types of grants awarded through the program.