The Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced it has awarded $17.6 million in grants to fair housing groups in 39 states and the District of Columbia as part of the Bush Administration’s efforts to curb housing discrimination.

HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program awarded the grants to groups that will use the funds to investigate allegations of housing discrimination, educate the public and housing industry about housing discrimination laws, and work to promote fair housing.

Approximately $10.2 million in “Private Enforcement Initiative” grants was awarded to assist private, tax-exempt fair housing enforcement organizations in the investigation and enforcement of alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act and State and local fair housing laws.

Approximately $5.3 million in “Education and Outreach Initiative” grants was allocated to groups to educate the public about the rights and obligations under federal, state and local fair housing laws. Nearly $800,000 went to 10 groups that focus on the needs of persons with disabilities.

Approximately $2.1 million in “Fair Housing Organizations Initiative” grants was awarded for projects that serve rural and immigrant populations in underserved areas or where there currently is no existing fair housing organization.

“Today’s announcement is another step toward ensuring that Americans have equal access to safe and affordable housing,” said HUD Acting Secretary Alphonso Jackson. “We will not allow discrimination to stop families across this nation from living in any home, apartment or neighborhood they can afford.”

HUD is a federal agency that implements housing policy.

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