The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity will meet this morning for a hearing to examine fair housing issues in the Gulf Coast after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Robert Ney, R-Ohio, will hear testimony of the housing experiences of displaced individuals and families in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricanes, according to a press statement.

The hearing will also examine current issues surrounding the enforcement of the Fair Housing Act, specifically how recent technological advances have affected its enforcement.

The Fair Housing Act, as amended, prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of housing, the financing of housing, or the provision of brokerage services on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental handicap, and familial status. The FHA, with some exemptions, applies to public and private housing including single-family homes, condominiums, apartments, and mobile homes.

“Many questions related to housing discrimination arose from the subcommittee’s two field hearings last month in New Orleans and Gulfport,” Ney said in a statement. “It’s important that families in the Gulf region have equal access to the housing opportunities they need to rebuild their lives.”

Scheduled to testify are: Kim Kendrick, assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Derrick Johnson, president, Mississippi State Conference, NAACP; Janet Murguia, president, National Council of La Raza; Joseph D. Rich, director, Housing and Community Development Project Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; James Perry, executive director, Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, Baton Rouge, La.; and Shanna Smith, president and CEO, National Fair Housing Alliance.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to jessica@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 133.

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