Study of the Fair Housing Initiatives Program, released June 6, 2011
Foreward (from the study)
This evaluation of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Fair Housing Initiative Program (FHIP) is the first major study of the program in 15 years. The study confirms that FHIP funding is a critical component of the U.S. civil rights enforcement infrastructure. Fair housing organizations in communities across the country depend on FHIP funding to support their investigations and enforcement of laws that protect people from housing discrimination and that provide fair housing education and outreach activities.
Among the study’s important findings is that, without FHIP enforcement funding, it is likely that most enforcement and investigatory work, particularly paired testing, would no longer occur. Although fair housing organizations are able to secure funding, in addition to their FHIP funding, from a variety of sources for education and outreach activities, few alternative funding sources are available to support testing and other investigative work that fair housing organizations conduct.
This investigative work helps ensure equal access to housing for all individuals and families protected by federal, state, and local fair housing laws. The report shows, among other beneits, that when FHIP grantee organizations are the first point of contact for a complainant, the organization adds value in two ways:
First, FHIP grantee organizations weed out cases that are not covered by civil rights statutes, as well as those cases in which the organization’s investigations show a complaint lacks merit. This vetting saves resources for HUD and state agencies that do not have to investigate these cases.
Second, the investigative evidence provided to HUD and state agencies for a complaint on which a FHIP grantee organization has signed on as a complainant or representative adds merit to those cases. These are the cases that are much more likely to end in a conciliation or cause inding than are other cases in which the complainant comes directly to HUD and state agencies. Of particularly high value is testing evidence, which is limited almost exclusively to the cases that involve a FHIP grantee organization.
Overall, the report supports maintaining funding for FHIP grantee organizations as an important policy priority for HUD.
Raphael W. Bostic Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research