Federal housing regulators are boosting grant funding by 48 percent to fair housing groups and nonprofit agencies that educate the public about housing and lending discrimination laws and help catch violators.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded $40.8 million to 108 fair housing organizations and nonprofit agencies in 36 states and the District of Columbia through HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program, up from $27.6 million last year.

The grants are used to investigate allegations of housing discrimination, educate the public and the housing industry about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act, and to promote equal housing opportunities.

Most of the money — $28 million — is earmarked for private enforcement initiatives, in which fair housing organizations investigate alleged housing discrimination. This year’s award includes $10 million to fund activities that address lending discrimination, including mortgage rescue scams, HUD said.

Another $6.8 million in awards are to be used to educate the public and housing providers about fair housing laws, and $6 million was set aside for groups serving rural and immigrant populations lacking existing fair housing organizations.

HUD published a list of groups receiving grant funding on its website, including the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the National Fair Housing Alliance, and San Francisco Consumer Action.

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