WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Recognizing the crucial work by non-profit fair housing organizations in Ohio and nationwide, the Senate voted Thursday to restore level funding of $42.5 million for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) in the federal fiscal year 2012 budget. Senator Sherrod Brown sponsored the amendment to restore nearly $7 million in funding. FHIP funding is part of appropriations for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is vital in protecting all families and individuals seeking fair housing choices across the country. The amendment passed with support of both Democrats and Republicans in a voice vote.
"Senator Sherrod Brown is a true champion of fair housing choice for all Ohioans and all Americans regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability or familial status," said Jim McCarthy, president and CEO of the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center, representing a group of fair housing organizations in Ohio. "We applaud Senator Brown and all senators who supported amendment number 874 for their efforts in promoting fair housing for everyone."
The Ohio fair housing organizations who endorsed this amendment were: Fair Housing Advocates Association of Akron, Fair Housing Resource Center, Inc. of Painesville, Heights Community Congress of Cleveland Heights, Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Greater Cincinnati, Housing Research & Advocacy Center of Cleveland, Miami Valley Fair Housing Center, Inc. of Dayton, the City of Cleveland's Office of Fair Housing & Community Affairs, and Toledo Fair Housing Center.
The Senate's action comes a month after the House Appropriations Subcommittee approved level funding for FHIP at $42.5 million.
Ohio fair housing organizations, such as the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center, fight housing discrimination and help families save their homes from foreclosure. The severity of the problem is felt among the American middle class, as well as by communities of color, service members and their families, and by people with disabilities. MVFHC worked with the HomeOwnership Center of Greater Dayton to help Gail Harris, a single 51-year-old African-American mother. Ms. Harris was able to modify her $40,000 mortgage on a home she inherited from her parents that she would have lost without the help of the fair housing organization.
Fair housing organizations that receive funding through FHIP assist people who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination. FHIP is a competitive grant program administered by HUD that fights discrimination in the housing, rental, sales, lending and insurance markets. There are approximately 100 full-service fair housing organizations nationwide that conduct enforcement and education for the community and the housing industry.
"This week's vote was an important step forward in the Senate, but there is more that must be done," said Shanna L. Smith, President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance. "I urge the Senate to increase funding for housing counseling services, the Community Development Block Grant program, and many other programs that are vital in furthering the goal of equality in America today."
SOURCE National Fair Housing Alliance