Fair Housing Initiatives Program - Education and Outreach Initiative for the American Rescue Plan
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) recognizes that fair housing enforcement and education and outreach services are essential components of protecting persons from housing discrimination in the United States. The ARP appropriated $20 million in supplemental Fair Housing Initiatives Program funding to HUD to provide emergency relief to Qualified Fair Housing Enforcement Organizations (QFHOs) and Fair Housing Enforcement Organizations (FHOs), public or private not-for-profit organizations or institutions, and other public or private entities that are formulating or carrying out programs to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices; agencies of State or local governments; and agencies that participate in the Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP). This Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) will provide funding to address fair housing education and outreach services, and the costs of delivering or adapting these services, during or relating to the coronavirus pandemic. In keeping with Congress’s intent in enacting the American Rescue Plan, applicants may propose new fair housing education and outreach projects relating to discrimination arising in connection with the pandemic or focus on sustaining core fair housing education activities.The ARP Fair Housing Initiatives Program-Education and Outreach Initiative (EOI) NOFO invites applications from eligible EOI organizations seeking support for fair housing activities that are connected to or adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Through this fourth-round funding opportunity, HUD will award grants to eligible organizations to help them continue to advance their mission during the interruption of their operation and recovery efforts resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. (See Section III. Eligibility Information). As of March 2022, approximately $16.1 million in ARP FHIP funding was awarded, ensuring that much-needed relief was received by victims of housing discrimination within months of enactment of the ARP; the current ARP NOFO provides additional funding for eligible organizations to continue fair housing activities connected to or adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.ARP National Media Campaign Component This NOFO will make available $1 million for a National Media Campaign. The focus of this national media campaign is to address coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic/post-pandemic housing discrimination issues, especially in underserved communities: populations sharing a particular characteristic, as well as geographic communities, that have been systematically denied a full opportunity to participate in aspects of economic, social, and civic life, including Black, Latino, Indigenous, Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander, and other, persons of color; members of religious groups; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality; as well as persons with limited English proficiency and other groups of federally protected class members experiencing housing discrimination who have been hit hardest during or relating to the coronavirus pandemic. The campaign must ensure that those most impacted by housing related issues resulting from the pandemic are provided with educational and other resources to identify and combat housing discrimination. The campaign should also focus on areas hit hardest by discriminatory foreclosures and evictions, people experiencing or on the verge of housing instability or homelessness, including those that may face possible displacement due to the end of the foreclosure and eviction moratoriums, senior citizens and people with disabilities who are trying to escape the heightened risk of coronavirus associated with institutional or congregate settings.Studies show that evictions disproportionately affect women of color, with landlords filing for eviction against Black and Hispanic women at higher rates than as against men and white women. The grantee’s objective will be to create and disseminate fair housing education and outreach materials in areas most significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in highly segregated areas, rural areas and areas with high incidences of discriminatory foreclosure and eviction. During this national emergency, HUD wants to remind housing providers and the public of important federal fair housing laws that protect persons from discrimination, including harassment and intimidation, in housing and related services on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex including sexual orientation and gender identity, familial status and disability. HUD recognizes that persons with disabilities, including those who are older and have underlying medical conditions, are vulnerable and may be at high risk for a severe, life-threatening response to COVID-19; therefore, these persons may face unique fair housing and civil rights issues that need to be addressed. The campaign will provide information for all protected classes on how to file a housing discrimination complaint through HUD or a local fair housing agency. ARP EOI Regional/Local/General Component The purpose of this funding component is to prevent, mitigate, and respond to the effects of COVID-19 and to enhance fair housing education and outreach services and related infrastructure. Consistent with this purpose, funding may support a wide range of in-scope education and outreach activities, which may change as COVID-19 circumstances and related community, public, and organizational needs evolve over the 12 to18 month period of performance. This ARP EOI NOFO makes available $2,385,353.12 million to support eligible organizations and activities. The ARP EOI NOFO provides broad flexibility to each applicant to address specific fair housing education and outreach needs in their communities related to COVID-19. Below are examples of eligible activities and allowable use of funds under this NOFO:Develop and disseminate fair housing education and outreach materials designed to inform members of the public of their rights under the Fair Housing Act and how they can file a housing discrimination complaint. Applicants should focus their efforts on those geographic areas that have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and should educate the public about the warning signs of discriminatory foreclosures and evictions related to the pandemic, and the remedies available. Applicants may also utilize funding for adaptive services and technology to provide outreach to the public when in-person services are not available due to the rise in coronavirus cases. Rehire fair housing staff laid off as a result of the pandemic and promote workforce development. Establish, expand, sustain and develop fair housing staff to carry out fair housing education and outreach services.Develop, implement and sustain infrastructure projects to promote efficiency and to avert disruptive and costly delays in provision of fair housing services caused by COVID-19.Engage in and implement activities that invest in equity and fair housing opportunities for underserved communities who need the services the most: populations sharing a particular characteristic, as well as geographic communities, that have been systematically denied a full opportunity to participate in aspects of economic, social, and civic life, including Black, Latino, Indigenous, Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander, and other, persons of color; members of religious groups; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality; including young adults.Work to close housing disparities and increase access to affordable housing by educating the public, address sexual harassment prevention, and engage in community-based fair housing crisis intervention.Develop, implement and provide fair housing technical assistance, fair housing staff training and new fair housing curricula.