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Overview:
Discrimination in housing on the basis of race, sex, family status, and other grounds is illegal in the United States. One of the largest federal civil rights agencies, the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) is a division of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that administers federal laws and makes policy regarding equal access to housing. The Office administers funding, processes discrimination complaints, and oversees enforcement and compliance with federal laws.
 
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History:

Title VIII of the 1968 Civil Rights Act (also known as the Fair Housing Act of 1968) expanded earlier landmark legislation concerning civil liberties and discrimination and specifically prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental or financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex and (as amended) handicap and family status.
 
In 1966 and 1967, the Fair Housing Bill was circulated in Congress, but failed to garner sufficient support for passage. The Vietnam War - in which African American and Hispanic infantrymen suffered significant casualties, gave momentum to the initiative. Attention turned towards the families of servicemen in the U.S. who were denied housing based on race or national origin. Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, the first African-American elected to the Senate by popular vote - along with various advocacy groups including the NAACP, the GI Forum and the National Coalition Against Discrimination in Housing - lobbied for the Senate to pass the Fair Housing Act. The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968 prompted a more direct response, and the Bill was pushed through both House and Senate and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson one week later.
 
How Has the Fair Housing Act Fared? (by Cheryl Corley, NPR)

39 Steps Toward Fair Housing

(PDF)

 

more
What it Does:

           
According to FHEO, the agency also:
  • Manages the Fair Housing Assistance Program, administers the award and management of Fair Housing Initiatives Program grants, and proposes fair housing legislation; works with other government agencies on fair housing issues;
  • Reviews and comments on Departmental clearances of proposed rules, handbooks, legislation, draft reports, and notices of funding availability for fair housing considerations;
  • Interprets policy, processes complaints, performs compliance reviews and offers technical assistance to local housing authorities and community development agencies regarding Section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968;
  • Ensures the enforcement of federal laws relating to the elimination of all forms of discrimination in HUD's employment practices;
  • Conducts oversight of the Government-Sponsored Enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to ensure consistency with the Fair Housing Act and the fair housing provisions of the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act; and
  • Works with private industry, fair-housing and community advocates on the promotion of voluntary fair housing compliance. 
 
The Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) - provides funding to public and private organizations that develop programs that are designed to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices. (FY 2007 funding: $19.8 million)
 
The Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) - strengthens nationwide fair housing efforts by helping individual State and local governments administer laws of their own that are consistent with the Federal Fair Housing Act. (FY 2007 funds: $24.8 million)
 
 
See Promoting Fair Housing for information on non-discrimination “affirmative strategies” including HUD’s Consolidated Plan, Public Housing Agency Plans, and Super Notice of Funding Availability (SuperNOFA), and information on the Community Development Block Grant program.
 
A Success
 
Complaints
Individuals can file discrimination complaints with the FHEO at no charge. The agency also funds and works with state and local government agencies that operate under parallel fair housing legislation. Under its Fair Housing Assistance Program, FHEO refers complaints to these agencies for investigation and processing. The Office also funds a network of private, non-profit fair housing advocacy organizations through its Fair Housing Initiatives Program.

 

 

As reported in the press, housing discrimination complaints hit a record high in 2006, and are expected to increase as HUD and fair housing agencies undertake outreach programs to increase visibility of the issue and, in the words of FHEA director Kim Kendrick, “let [people and the nation] know that fair housing is not an option, it’s the law.”
 
Housing official says agency working to be more consistent (by Deborah Barfield Berry, USA Today)

HUD Advice on How to Avoid Foreclosure

 

more
Controversies:

Immigrants’ Rights Under Fair Housing Laws

Nebraska Attorney General refuses to sue for immigrants' fair housing rights (by Nate Jenkins, USA Today)

 

more

Comments

Kim Krchnak 1 year ago
Should we continue to bend over for the harassers? I think not. File your case today and see the magic of government inaction make a mockery justice and the US Constitution. See lawyers scurry to cover their tracks. Watch civil servants hang up on you, not return your calls. Plead for the airline plotters to be stopped, beg! Watch as the towers come down. Think we have a government? Think again!
lorna kay sephus 1 year ago
my name is lorna kay sephus. i have been on housing since 2007. as of february 3 2012, i was evicted from my home, due to the fact that i did not have a income. reason because, i was and formally am disabled and unable to work. when i moved from treymore eastfield apartments, because my daughter was no longer able to assist me with my light bill, i relocated to an all bills paid apartment, spanish hills apartment. after moving to spanish hills apartments, i was told that i would ...
d alicea 3 years ago
to whom it concernes im writting in reguards of unfair lending and unfair bail out of my bank on my home fannie mae see we have been placed in trials ongoing that never stop so when we got sold after 13 years in the middle of a trial that accourding to hamp is against the law and to not give permenent modification after all trial payments made is also when does it stop we lived here for 15 yrs fell on low hoursand pay cut but still enough to make our last trial payment and we qualif...
Stuart Brown 4 years ago
How do I file a discrimination complaint against a lender (see below)? November 4, 2009 Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Attn: John Trasvina Janice and Stuart Brown 1835 Walton Lane Smyrna GA., 30082 404-421-8823 770-433-1380 To Whom It May Concern: My wife and I are trying to obtain approval on a FHA loan with a Direct Endorsed Underwriter (Bank of America). The home we’re trying to purchase is in Georgia, being serviced in Virginia and underwritt...

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Founded: 1968
Annual Budget: $51 million
Employees: 600
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
Trasviña, John
Assistant Secretary

A long time Latino civil rights attorney, John Trasviña was confirmed as the assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity on May 1, 2009. He comes to the Department of Housing and Urban Development after serving as president of the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF) since November 2006.

 
A native of San Francisco, Trasviña, 50, graduated from Harvard University and Stanford Law School.
 
After completing law school, he began his career in 1983 as a deputy city attorney in San Francisco. MALDEF, the nation’s leading Latino civil rights organization, came calling in 1985, and Trasviña relocated to Washington, DC, to become a legislative counsel for two years. In 1987, he went to work for Sen. Paul Simon (D-IL), first as counsel and then in 1993 as general counsel and staff director for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution.
 
During the Clinton Administration Trasviña was appointed in 1997 to be special counsel for immigration-related unfair employment practices at the Department of Justice. He later became Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs.
 
After leaving the Justice Department in 2001, Trasviña headed back to the West Coast and became director of the Discrimination Research Center in Berkeley, and taught at Stanford Law School.
 
Five years later, MALDEF came calling again, and Trasviña took over as the organization’s president and general counsel in November 2006.
 
 
 
more
Kendrick, Kim
Assistant Secretary
Kim Kendrick served as assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity from October 2005 until President Bush left office on January 20, 2009. A native of Pittsburgh, Kendrick earned her bachelors degree in sociology from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and her law degree from the University of Pittsburgh Law School.
 
Kendrick joined HUD as Assistant General Counsel for Insured Housing and Community Development Litigation in 1990, where she worked until 1995. From 1995 to 1998, she worked in various capacities of legal counsel to the District of Columbia Housing Authority. From 1998 to 2002, she served as a Regional Administrator for the District of Columbia Housing Authority.
 
Before joining the Bush administration, Kendrick was the General Counsel for Covenant House Washington, an international non-profit organization committed to helping and safeguarding homeless, runaway and at-risk youth.
 
Before being confirmed as Assistant Secretary of FHEO, she was the Senior Counselor to Secretary Alphonso Jackson.
 
 
more
Bookmark and Share
Overview:
Discrimination in housing on the basis of race, sex, family status, and other grounds is illegal in the United States. One of the largest federal civil rights agencies, the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) is a division of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that administers federal laws and makes policy regarding equal access to housing. The Office administers funding, processes discrimination complaints, and oversees enforcement and compliance with federal laws.
 
more
History:

Title VIII of the 1968 Civil Rights Act (also known as the Fair Housing Act of 1968) expanded earlier landmark legislation concerning civil liberties and discrimination and specifically prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental or financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex and (as amended) handicap and family status.
 
In 1966 and 1967, the Fair Housing Bill was circulated in Congress, but failed to garner sufficient support for passage. The Vietnam War - in which African American and Hispanic infantrymen suffered significant casualties, gave momentum to the initiative. Attention turned towards the families of servicemen in the U.S. who were denied housing based on race or national origin. Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, the first African-American elected to the Senate by popular vote - along with various advocacy groups including the NAACP, the GI Forum and the National Coalition Against Discrimination in Housing - lobbied for the Senate to pass the Fair Housing Act. The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968 prompted a more direct response, and the Bill was pushed through both House and Senate and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson one week later.
 
How Has the Fair Housing Act Fared? (by Cheryl Corley, NPR)

39 Steps Toward Fair Housing

(PDF)

 

more
What it Does:

           
According to FHEO, the agency also:
  • Manages the Fair Housing Assistance Program, administers the award and management of Fair Housing Initiatives Program grants, and proposes fair housing legislation; works with other government agencies on fair housing issues;
  • Reviews and comments on Departmental clearances of proposed rules, handbooks, legislation, draft reports, and notices of funding availability for fair housing considerations;
  • Interprets policy, processes complaints, performs compliance reviews and offers technical assistance to local housing authorities and community development agencies regarding Section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968;
  • Ensures the enforcement of federal laws relating to the elimination of all forms of discrimination in HUD's employment practices;
  • Conducts oversight of the Government-Sponsored Enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to ensure consistency with the Fair Housing Act and the fair housing provisions of the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act; and
  • Works with private industry, fair-housing and community advocates on the promotion of voluntary fair housing compliance. 
 
The Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) - provides funding to public and private organizations that develop programs that are designed to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices. (FY 2007 funding: $19.8 million)
 
The Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) - strengthens nationwide fair housing efforts by helping individual State and local governments administer laws of their own that are consistent with the Federal Fair Housing Act. (FY 2007 funds: $24.8 million)
 
 
See Promoting Fair Housing for information on non-discrimination “affirmative strategies” including HUD’s Consolidated Plan, Public Housing Agency Plans, and Super Notice of Funding Availability (SuperNOFA), and information on the Community Development Block Grant program.
 
A Success
 
Complaints
Individuals can file discrimination complaints with the FHEO at no charge. The agency also funds and works with state and local government agencies that operate under parallel fair housing legislation. Under its Fair Housing Assistance Program, FHEO refers complaints to these agencies for investigation and processing. The Office also funds a network of private, non-profit fair housing advocacy organizations through its Fair Housing Initiatives Program.

 

 

As reported in the press, housing discrimination complaints hit a record high in 2006, and are expected to increase as HUD and fair housing agencies undertake outreach programs to increase visibility of the issue and, in the words of FHEA director Kim Kendrick, “let [people and the nation] know that fair housing is not an option, it’s the law.”
 
Housing official says agency working to be more consistent (by Deborah Barfield Berry, USA Today)

HUD Advice on How to Avoid Foreclosure

 

more
Controversies:

Immigrants’ Rights Under Fair Housing Laws

Nebraska Attorney General refuses to sue for immigrants' fair housing rights (by Nate Jenkins, USA Today)

 

more

Comments

Kim Krchnak 1 year ago
Should we continue to bend over for the harassers? I think not. File your case today and see the magic of government inaction make a mockery justice and the US Constitution. See lawyers scurry to cover their tracks. Watch civil servants hang up on you, not return your calls. Plead for the airline plotters to be stopped, beg! Watch as the towers come down. Think we have a government? Think again!
lorna kay sephus 1 year ago
my name is lorna kay sephus. i have been on housing since 2007. as of february 3 2012, i was evicted from my home, due to the fact that i did not have a income. reason because, i was and formally am disabled and unable to work. when i moved from treymore eastfield apartments, because my daughter was no longer able to assist me with my light bill, i relocated to an all bills paid apartment, spanish hills apartment. after moving to spanish hills apartments, i was told that i would ...
d alicea 3 years ago
to whom it concernes im writting in reguards of unfair lending and unfair bail out of my bank on my home fannie mae see we have been placed in trials ongoing that never stop so when we got sold after 13 years in the middle of a trial that accourding to hamp is against the law and to not give permenent modification after all trial payments made is also when does it stop we lived here for 15 yrs fell on low hoursand pay cut but still enough to make our last trial payment and we qualif...
Stuart Brown 4 years ago
How do I file a discrimination complaint against a lender (see below)? November 4, 2009 Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Attn: John Trasvina Janice and Stuart Brown 1835 Walton Lane Smyrna GA., 30082 404-421-8823 770-433-1380 To Whom It May Concern: My wife and I are trying to obtain approval on a FHA loan with a Direct Endorsed Underwriter (Bank of America). The home we’re trying to purchase is in Georgia, being serviced in Virginia and underwritt...

Leave a comment

captcha

Founded: 1968
Annual Budget: $51 million
Employees: 600
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
Trasviña, John
Assistant Secretary

A long time Latino civil rights attorney, John Trasviña was confirmed as the assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity on May 1, 2009. He comes to the Department of Housing and Urban Development after serving as president of the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF) since November 2006.

 
A native of San Francisco, Trasviña, 50, graduated from Harvard University and Stanford Law School.
 
After completing law school, he began his career in 1983 as a deputy city attorney in San Francisco. MALDEF, the nation’s leading Latino civil rights organization, came calling in 1985, and Trasviña relocated to Washington, DC, to become a legislative counsel for two years. In 1987, he went to work for Sen. Paul Simon (D-IL), first as counsel and then in 1993 as general counsel and staff director for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution.
 
During the Clinton Administration Trasviña was appointed in 1997 to be special counsel for immigration-related unfair employment practices at the Department of Justice. He later became Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs.
 
After leaving the Justice Department in 2001, Trasviña headed back to the West Coast and became director of the Discrimination Research Center in Berkeley, and taught at Stanford Law School.
 
Five years later, MALDEF came calling again, and Trasviña took over as the organization’s president and general counsel in November 2006.
 
 
 
more
Kendrick, Kim
Assistant Secretary
Kim Kendrick served as assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity from October 2005 until President Bush left office on January 20, 2009. A native of Pittsburgh, Kendrick earned her bachelors degree in sociology from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and her law degree from the University of Pittsburgh Law School.
 
Kendrick joined HUD as Assistant General Counsel for Insured Housing and Community Development Litigation in 1990, where she worked until 1995. From 1995 to 1998, she worked in various capacities of legal counsel to the District of Columbia Housing Authority. From 1998 to 2002, she served as a Regional Administrator for the District of Columbia Housing Authority.
 
Before joining the Bush administration, Kendrick was the General Counsel for Covenant House Washington, an international non-profit organization committed to helping and safeguarding homeless, runaway and at-risk youth.
 
Before being confirmed as Assistant Secretary of FHEO, she was the Senior Counselor to Secretary Alphonso Jackson.
 
 
more