Fair Housing and Equal Credit Opportunity

Published on AidPage by IDILOGIC on Jun 24, 2005

Administered by:

US Federal Government Agency (see all agencies)
Department of Justice , Civil Rights Division
CFDA #: 16.103

Purpose of this program:

The Fair Housing Act provides freedom from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, handicap and familial status in connection with the sale, rental, and financing of housing and other related activities. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)prohibits discrimination in credit transactions on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, or age (provided the applicant has the capacity to contract), because all or a part of the applicant's income is derived from a public assistance program, or because the applicant has in good faith exercised any right under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin and religion in places of public accommodations, which are defined to include hotels, motels, restaurants, gas stations, and places of entertainment. Section 2 of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) prohibits local governments from significantly burdening the exercise of religion or discriminating against religious institution in their land use and zoning decisions.

Possible uses and use restrictions...

The Fair Housing Act, which is found in Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, is designed to ensure freedom from discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing, and other related activities. The Act provides two major avenues of enforcement by the Department. First, the Attorney General has independent authority to bring civil actions in Federal courts whenever he/she has reasonable cause to believe that any person or group of persons is engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination or when he/she has reasonable cause to believe any group has been denied such rights in a case of general public importance. Under its pattern or practice authority, the Department may seek appropriate injunctive relief, actual and punitive damages for any persons injured by a the discrimination, and civil penalties of up to $55,000 against a defendant for the first violation and up to $110,000 for subsequent violations of the Act. Second, the Department also has authority to seek relief on behalf of individuals in certain circumstances, as follows. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is required to investigate and conciliate any complaint of housing discrimination filed with that agency. If it cannot be conciliated, HUD is authorized to file an administrative charge if it determines there is reasonable cause to believe the Fair Housing Act has been violated. At that point, either party may elect to have such charge heard in Federal court, and if such election is made, the Department of Justice is required to bring suit in Federal court on behalf of the complainant and may seek actual and punitive damages in such an action. Aside from enforcement by the Federal government, private suits alleging illegal discrimination may be filed in the appropriate Federal or State court within two years of alleged discrimination. The ECOA, as amended, is designed to prohibit certain types of discrimination in all aspects of credit transactions. Persons who believe that they are victims of such discrimination may file complaints with one of the appropriate Federal regulatory agencies or may bring the information to the attention of the Attorney General. The Department of Justice is authorized to institute litigation in Federal court when a matter is referred to the Attorney General by an agency responsible for administrative enforcement of the Act or when he/she has reasonable cause to believe that one or more creditors are engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination in violation of the Act. The Act gives the United States authority to seek actual and punitive damages for any persons aggrieved by the discrimination. In addition, an aggrieved person may institute suit in a Federal court pursuant to the ECOA. Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act is designed to prohibit discrimination in certain kinds of public accommodations. It gives the Attorney General authority to bring a legal action when he/she determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that any person or group is engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination which violates the provisions of Title II. Remedies available in such cases are limited to injunctive relief and the Department does not have authority to seek monetary relief. Private individuals also may bring legal action under Title II. In addition, there are other civil rights laws which give such individuals authority to take legal action against public accommodations not covered by Title II. The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act passed in September, 2000 prohibits State and local governments from using their authority to burden the exercise of religion, exclude religious assemblies from their jurisdictions, or discriminate against religious institutions. It gives the Attorney General the authority to seek injunctive or declaratory

Who is eligible to apply...

All persons.

Eligible Applicant Categories:
Eligible Functional Categories:
Credentials/Documentation

Not applicable.

Note:This is a brief description of the credentials or documentation required prior to, or along with, an application for assistance.

About this section:

This section indicates who can apply to the Federal government for assistance and the criteria the potential applicant must satisfy. For example, individuals may be eligible for research grants, and the criteria to be satisfied may be that they have a professional or scientific degree, 3 years of research experience, and be a citizen of the United States. Universities, medical schools, hospitals, or State and local governments may also be eligible. Where State governments are eligible, the type of State agency will be indicated (State welfare agency or State agency on aging) and the criteria that they must satisfy.

Certain federal programs (e.g., the Pell Grant program which provides grants to students) involve intermediate levels of application processing, i.e., applications are transmitted through colleges or universities that are neither the direct applicant nor the ultimate beneficiary. For these programs, the criteria that the intermediaries must satisfy are also indicated, along with intermediaries who are not eligible.

How to apply...

Application Procedure:

Contact the headquarters office listed below.

Note: Each program will indicate whether applications are to be submitted to the Federal headquarters, regional or local office, or to a State or local government office.

Award Procedure:

Not applicable.

Note: Grant payments may be made by a letter of credit, advance by Treasury check, or reimbursement by Treasury check. Awards may be made by the headquarters office directly to the applicant, an agency field office, a regional office, or by an authorized county office. The assistance may pass through the initial applicant for further distribution by intermediate level applicants to groups or individuals in the private sector.

Deadlines and process...

Deadlines

There is no deadline for the filing of pattern or practices cases with respect to housing discrimination or public accommodations. However, any individual filing a complaint with HUD pursuant to the enforcement scheme discussed in part 070, must file the complaint with HUD within 1 year of the occurrence or termination of an alleged discriminatory housing practice. Under the ECOA, any legal action must be taken within 2 years of the discriminatory occurrence.

Note: When available, this section indicates the deadlines for applications to the funding agency which will be stated in terms of the date(s) or between what dates the application should be received. When not available, applicants should contact the funding agency for deadline information.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Not applicable.

Preapplication Coordination

None. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.

Note: This section indicates whether any prior coordination or approval is required with governmental or nongovernmental units prior to the submission of a formal application to the federal funding agency.

Appeals

Not applicable.

Note: In some cases, there are no provisions for appeal. Where applicable, this section discusses appeal procedures or allowable rework time for resubmission of applications to be processed by the funding agency. Appeal procedures vary with individual programs and are either listed in this section or applicants are referred to appeal procedures documented in the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Renewals

Not applicable.

Note: In some instances, renewal procedures may be the same as for the application procedure, e.g., for projects of a non-continuing nature renewals will be treated as new, competing applications; for projects of an ongoing nature, renewals may be given annually.

Who can benefit...

All persons.

Beneficiaries
About this section:

This section lists the ultimate beneficiaries of a program, the criteria they must satisfy and who specifically is not eligible. The applicant and beneficiary will generally be the same for programs that provide assistance directly from a Federal agency. However, financial assistance that passes through State or local governments will have different applicants and beneficiaries since the assistance is transmitted to private sector beneficiaries who are not obligated to request or apply for the assistance.

What types of assistance...

Provision of Specialized Services

Programs which provide Federal personnel directly to perform certain tasks for the benefit of communities or individuals. These services may be performed in conjunction with nonfederal personnel, but they involve more than consultation, advice, or counseling.

How much financial aid...

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Not applicable.

Note: This section lists the representative range (smallest to largest) of the amount of financial assistance available. These figures are based upon funds awarded in the past fiscal year and the current fiscal year to date. Also indicated is an approximate average amount of awards which were made in the past and current fiscal years.

Obligations

(Salaries and Expenses) FY 03 $14,278,000; FY 04 est $14,594,000; and FY 05 est $14,124,000.

Note: The dollar amounts listed in this section represent obligations for the past fiscal year (PY), estimates for the current fiscal year (CY), and estimates for the budget fiscal year (BY) as reported by the Federal agencies. Obligations for non-financial assistance programs indicate the administrative expenses involved in the operation of a program.

Account Identification

15-0128-0-1-752.

Note: Note: This 11-digit budget account identification code represents the account which funds a particular program. This code should be consistent with the code given for the program area as specified in Appendix III of the Budget of the United States Government.

Examples of funded projects...

None.

About this section

This section indicates the different types of projects which have been funded in the past. Only projects funded under Project Grants or Direct Payments for Specified Use should be listed here. The examples give potential applicants an idea of the types of projects that may be accepted for funding. The agency should list at least five examples of the most recently funded projects.

Program accomplishments...

The Housing and Civil Enforcement Section's enforcement efforts continue to achieve significant accomplishments. In fiscal year 2003, the Section filed a total of 21 pattern or practice complaints and successfully resolved 17 pattern or practice cases. In the last several years, the Section has increased its efforts to enforce the accessibility provisions of the Act in conjunction with the President?s New Freedom Initiative. From fiscal year 1998 through fiscal year 2003, 49 such pattern or practice cases were filed, alleging violations of these provisions. In fiscal year 2003, five of these cases were settled by consent decrees or out-of-court settlements containing monetary relief and important remedial principles and standards, including but not limited to, retrofitting existing units and construction of new units. In fiscal year 2003, the Section continued its very successful fair housing testing program. Since its creation in 1992 through the end of fiscal year 2003, the Department's testing program has resulted in the filing of 75 pattern or practice cases, 1 of which was filed in fiscal year 2003. As of the end of fiscal year 2003, 70 of the 75 cases had been resolved and the total monetary relief obtained in these cases is just over $10 million. A 2002 report by a bipartisan private organization established to monitor civil rights enforcement stated that the Section's testing program has enjoyed "extraordinary success" and has enabled the Department to better fulfill its mission of vigorously enforcing the Fair Housing Act. The Section's enforcement program also continues to put significant emphasis on enforcement of fair lending laws. Since 1992 through fiscal year 2003, 18 cases have been initiated attacking discrimination by financial institutions in the underwriting, marketing and pricing of loans. All of these cases have been resolved by consent decrees or settlement agreement resulting in nearly than $76 million in monetary relief. In addition to monetary relief, the settlements in these cases have required changes in banking practices. Examples of recent significant settlements and court judgments include: a Jackson, Mississippi, jury returned a $451,208 verdict against the owner and manager of numerous rental properties who violated the Fair Housing Act by sexually harassing female tenants; a consent order requiring retrofits of three apartment complexes in Tampa, Florida to increase accessibility to persons with disabilities, construction of 420 accessible single-family homes at an estimated cost of two million dollars, and payment of fifty thousand dollars in damages and civil penalties; a consent decree providing for $570,000 in damages to settle a lawsuit that alleged rental discrimination by an apartment complex in Jupiter, Florida on the basis of race, color and familial status; a settlement agreement with the owners of a Virginia club that denied access to a Sikh Muslim man on the same basis as white, non-Muslim patrons; consent decrees against nightclub and bar owners in Kansas, Alabama and West Virginia who denied black patrons access to the clubs on the same basis as whites; and a consent decree under which a major bank in Chicago will invest more than $10 million and open two new branches in minority neighborhoods to settle a lawsuit alleging that it engaged in mortgage redlining on the basis of race and national origin.

Criteria for selecting proposals...

None.

Assistance considerations...

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Not applicable.

Formula and Matching Requirements

Not applicable.

Note:
A formula may be based on population, per capita income, and other statistical factors. Applicants are informed whether there are any matching requirements to be met when participating in the cost of a project. In general, the matching share represents that portion of the project costs not borne by the Federal government. Attachment F of OMB Circular No. A-102 (Office of Management and Budget) sets forth the criteria and procedures for the evaluation of matching share requirements which may be cash or in-kind contributions made by State and local governments or other agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals to satisfy matching requirements of Federal grants or loans.

Cash contributions represent the grantees' cash outlay, including the outlay of money contributed to the grantee by other public agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals. When authorized by Federal regulation, Federal funds received from other grants may be considered as the grantees' cash contribution.

In-kind contributions represent the value of noncash contributions provided by the grantee, other public agencies and institutions, private organizations or individuals. In-kind contributions may consist of charges for real property and equipment, and value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the grant program. When authorized by Federal legislation, property purchased with Federal funds may be considered as grantees' in-kind contribution.

Maintenance of effort (MOE) is a requirement contained in certain legislation, regulations, or administrative policies stating that a grantee must maintain a specified level of financial effort in a specific area in order to receive Federal grant funds, and that the Federal grant funds may be used only to supplement, not supplant, the level of grantee funds.

Post assistance requirements...

Reports

Not applicable.

Note: This section indicates whether program reports, expenditure reports, cash reports or performance monitoring are required by the Federal funding agency, and specifies at what time intervals (monthly, annually, etc.) this must be accomplished.

Audits

Not applicable.

Note: This section discusses audits required by the Federal agency. The procedures and requirements for State and local governments and nonprofit entities are set forth in OMB Circular No. A-133. These requirements pertain to awards made within the respective State's fiscal year - not the Federal fiscal year, as some State and local governments may use the calendar year or other variation of time span designated as the fiscal year period, rather than that commonly known as the Federal fiscal year (from October 1st through September 30th).

Records

Not applicable.

Note: This section indicates the record retention requirements and the type of records the Federal agency may require. Not included are the normally imposed requirements of the General Accounting Office. For programs falling under the purview of OMB Circular No. A-102, record retention is set forth in Attachment C. For other programs, record retention is governed by the funding agency's requirements.

Regulations...

Authorization

Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, Title II; Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended, Title VIII, Public Law 90-284, 42 U.S.C. 3601; Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, Public Law 93-495; Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1976, Public Law 94-239; 15 U.S.C. 1691; Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, Public Law 100-430; Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, Public Law 106-274.

Note: This section lists the legal authority upon which a program is based (acts, amendments to acts, Public Law numbers, titles, sections, Statute Codes, citations to the U.S. Code, Executive Orders, Presidential Reorganization Plans, and Memoranda from an agency head).

Regulations, Guidelines, And Literature

None.

Contact information...

Web Sites
Regional Or Local Office

None.

Note: This section lists the agency contact person, address and telephone number of the Federal Regional or Local Office(s) to be contacted for detailed information regarding a program such as: (1) current availability of funds and the likelihood of receiving assistance within a given period; (2) pre-application and application forms required; (3) whether a pre-application conference is recommended; (4) assistance available in preparation of applications; (5) whether funding decisions are made at the headquarters, regional or local level; (6) application renewal procedures (including continuations and supplementals) or appeal procedures for rejected applications; and (7) recently published program guidelines and material. However, for most federal programs, this section will instruct the reader to consult the so-called Appendix IV of the Catalog due to the large volume of Regional and Local Office Contacts for most agencies. This information is provided in Additional Contact Information (see below).

Headquarters Office

Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, Washington, DC 20530. Telephone: (202) 514-4713. Contact: Office of Public Affairs, Department of Justice. Telephone: (Voice) (202) 514-2007; (TDD) (202) 514-1888.

Note: This section lists names and addresses of the office at the headquarters level with direct operational responsibility for managing a program. A telephone number is provided in cases where a Regional or Local Office is not normally able to answer detailed inquiries concerning a program. Also listed are the name(s) and telephone number(s) of the information contact person(s) who can provide additional program information to applicants.

Additional Contact Information (Appendix IV)

Due to the large volume of regional and local office contacts for most agencies, full contact information is also provided separately here in a PDF format: