The Equal Rights Center (ERC) has been awarded two grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Fair Housing Initiative Program (FHIP).

“The ERC is honored to be a recipient of these grants, and to continue to partner with from the Department of Housing and Urban Development in promoting equal housing opportunity for all,” said Don Kahl, Executive Director of the ERC. “With these funds, we will continue to provide education and outreach, testing, and advocacy to protect and promote fair housing, and will be able to further grow this work to reach the most vulnerable advance the ERC’s and HUD’s mission of affirmatively furthering fair housing, and will continue to work collaboratively to advance civil rights for both individuals and whole communities.”

The ERC is the recipient of a three-year Private Enforcement Initiative (PEI) grant, which will support testing investigations and intake complaint assistance throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area.  The ERC will receive $325,000 for the first year of the grant, with future funding contingent upon HUD’s budget. The ERC will also receive a one-year $125,000 Education and Outreach Initiative (EOI) grant, which will support the dissemination of fair housing information to diverse communities through workshops, trainings, publications, online messaging, and other communications.

The ERC has received numerous grants from HUD in years past, including the first performance-based multiyear PEI grant for the region.  The PEI grant awarded yesterday will provide long-term growth of the organization’s civil rights testing and intake complaint activities. Through its fair housing testing initiatives, the ERC is able to isolate and identify discriminatory housing practices. The time-tested and innovative testing methodologies utilized by the ERC are recognized and accepted by the civil rights community, government agencies, and federal and state courts. Under the ERC’s current HUD PEI grant funding, the ERC has conducted approximately 150 civil rights tests per year that address housing discrimination based on race, national origin, disability, and familial status.  The ERC also assists several hundred individuals with their housing discrimination complaints.

EOI grants, like the one awarded yesterday, have allowed the organization to greatly expand education and outreach activities in the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area through “Know Your Rights” presentations, public service advertisement (PSA) campaigns, and the distribution of hundreds of thousands of ERC educational materials, with special attention given to vulnerable communities.

By working with national and local government agencies, for-profit corporations, non-profit organizations, advocacy groups, universities, and service organizations, the ERC remains one of the most dynamic civil rights organizations in the county. This latest support from HUD will allow the ERC to continue its mission of advancing civil rights for ALL.

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