April is Fair Housing Month, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) theme for April 2020 is Call HUD: Because Sexual Harassment in Housing is Illegal. This year's theme serves as a public awareness campaign that urges the persons who experience sexual harassment where they live to "call HUD."
"While any form of discrimination stains the very fabric of our nation, HUD is especially focused on protecting the right of individuals to feel safe and secure in their homes, free from sexual harassment or unwanted sexual advances," said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. "This theme, which is a call to action, is an appeal to those who experience discrimination, particularly survivors of sexual harassment, to contact HUD for help. Much work remains to be done, but HUD’s efforts in this area are already producing real results for real people."
"Complaints we receive demonstrate the importance of continuing our commitment to shining a light on this form of discrimination and letting everyone know that HUD is here to help,” said Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Even as the nation is dealing with a health crisis unlike any we have experienced in recent history, HUD is open for business and working to ensure that no one has to tolerate harassment or unwanted sexual advances in the place they call home."
Recently, HUD approved several Conciliation Agreements with housing providers in Napa Valley, California, resolving allegations that the on-site manager for one of their properties sexually harassed female residents. The settlements called for the owners to pay $49,000 to women who filed complaints, remove the on-site manager and attend fair housing training.
In addition, HUD and the Department of Justice continue to work together through a nationwide joint initiative that is combating sexual harassment in housing.