Opening Acts May 11, 2020

New York AG Announces $4.5M in Grants to Six Fair Housing Organizations


On May 6th, New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced a $4.5 million grant to support a pilot initiative called Eliminating Barriers to Housing in New York (EBHNY), a two-year program aimed at rooting out discriminatory housing practices and improving the overall housing stock in the state.

Grant funds secured by the Office of the Attorney General will be made available to Qualified Fair Housing Organizations (QFHO) with full-service fair housing programs that have testing capabilities. In addition to the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC), other grant recipients include CNY Fair Housing based in Syracuse; Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) of Buffalo, Legal Assistance of Western New York in Rochester, Long Island Housing Services, and Westchester Residential Opportunities.  Enterprise Community Partners is the funding partner that will oversee the program.

Significantly, up to 80 percent of the grant dollars will be dedicated to systemic testing and enforcement, as well as education and outreach. Systemic testing is crucial in the fight against housing discrimination, which usually goes undetected and unreported. The remaining 20 percent of the funds will be used to remove barriers to housing for persons with disabilities and families with children.

FHJC Executive Director Fred Freiberg stated: “We are pleased to partner with Enterprise and the New York State Attorney General’s Office on this vital fair housing enforcement initiative.  We look forward to expanding housing opportunities and assisting New Yorkers who still face persistent and unlawful discrimination.” Freiberg added, “FHJC’s work with Newsday on its ground-breaking investigation into racial steering called “Long Island Divided” demonstrated that more systemic testing is needed to ferret out pernicious discriminatory housing practices.  We hope this pilot program will provide the impetus for the State of New York to provide ongoing support for the vital work performed by full-service fair housing organizations in New York.”

Click HERE to read the Attorney General’s full statement.

The mission of the FHJC, a nonprofit civil rights organization, is to eliminate housing discrimination; promote policies and programs that foster open, accessible, and inclusive communities; and strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws in the New York City region.