In an effort to address fair housing activities, HUD has announced that it is making a multi-million dollar grant available to organizations that advocate against discriminatory acts in the housing market.
HUD announced Monday that it is making $37.3 million available to fight housing discrimination  under HUD's 2016 Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). According to HUD, the three funding notice are intended to support fair housing testing in the rental and sales market, public education efforts, capacity building, and education and outreach activities.
The funding will be made available to organizations that fight against the common cause of housing discrimination, fair housing laws and policies, as well as educating the public, housing providers, and local governments about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.
HUD announced three categories of grants:
- Education and Outreach Initiative grants (EOI) – $7,450,000 available. HUD awards these to groups that educate the public and housing providers about their rights and responsibilities under federal law or state and local fair housing laws that are equivalent to the Fair Housing Act. This year's funds include $1,250,000 toward a national media campaign; $250,000 toward tester coordinator training; and the rest for general regional, local and community based programs.
- Fair Housing Organizations Initiative (FHOI) – $500,000 available. HUD awards these to help build the capacity and effectiveness of non-profit fair housing organizations, particularly organizations that focus on the rights and needs of underserved groups, such as rural and immigrant populations.
- Private Enforcement Initiative grants (PEI) – Total PEI multi-year funding is $29,375,000. However, $22,452,542 has already been reserved for FY 2014 and FY 2015 multi-year grantees, making $6,922,458 available for FY2016 new awardees. This year's PEI funds also include $975,000 to address lending discrimination.
HUD noted that applicants that are interested in the housing discrimination funding under the NOFAs should apply here  by June 23, 2016.
HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Gustavo Velasquez said, “The work HUD's fair housing partners do every day is critical to our efforts to ensure that every family in America has an equal shot at finding the home that is right for them. These grants help to provide the critical financial resources they need to do their work.”
The Five Star Institute  has a wide footprint in furthering the diversity and inclusion agenda in the mortgage industry with the newly announced 2016 Five Star Diversity Symposium  and its member organization, the American Mortgage Diversity Council (AMDC).
The inaugural Five Star Diversity Symposium i s a day-long event focused on advancing the conversation on diversity within the mortgage industry. The event will be held Thursday, June 16, 2016, at the The Belo Mansion, Dallas, Texas. Headline topics that will be covered at this event include: Thinking Outside the Box: The Future of Diversity in Mortgage Lending, The Bottom Line: The Business Case for Diversity & Inclusion, Incorporating Diversity and Inclusion Practices Into Your Compliance Management Program, Building the Best Team, and The Weakest Link: Issues in Supply Chain Diversity.
Click here  to register for the 2016 Five Star Diversity Symposium.
The AMDC, a Five Star Institute member organization, is comprised of executives from various mortgage companies and aims to shape the diversity agenda. The council, launched in June 2015, was created to drive results that support the application and promotion of the mortgage industry’s best diversity practices, and advancing solutions that support initiatives outlined by Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Act.
“The dialogue around diversity in the mortgage industry has not been advanced the way it needs to be,” said Five Star Institute President and CEO Ed Delgado. “Five Star was presented with a tremendous opportunity to fill a leadership void and we will work with our industry partners to set the bar for diversity in the industry.”
Editor's note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of DS News and DSNews.com.