HUD rolls out fair housing mobile app

Real estate trade groups sign up to promote app to members

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A federal agency has rolled out a free mobile application that allows users to file housing discrimination complaints wherever they are.

Real estate trade groups are among those who have signed up to promote the app to help people in their communities pursue their housing rights and educate trade group members about their responsibilities regarding the Fair Housing Act, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD developed the app along with Hewlett Packard.

The trade groups include the Asian Real Estate Association of America, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, HUD said.

"Having this first fair housing mobile application equips people everywhere with the information they need to combat housing discrimination," said John Trasviña, HUD assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, in a statement.

"We are maximizing the latest technology to make the process for filing fair housing complaints faster and easier and arming our fair housing partners with the information they need to understand their fair housing rights and responsibilities."

The app extends HUD’s existing capabilities to mobile devices and simplifies and increases access to government services for people, said Marilyn Crouther, senior vice president and general manager, U.S. public sector, HP Enterprise Services, in a statement.

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The app provides information about the fair housing complaint process, allows the public to access HUD’s toll-free discrimination hotline and links to HUD’s fair housing website, the agency said. The app will also help people research their housing rights after a natural disaster, when mobile devices may be one of the few ways available to access the Internet, HUD added.

The app is available for Apple iPhones and iPads. The agency also released HTML5 adaptive mobile pages in English and Spanish that allow users to complete and submit a fair housing complaint form in either language and on any mobile device. The agency also also plans to design a "Quick Response code" ad campaign directing mobile users to the new adaptive pages, HUD said.

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