Two groups that fight housing bias on Long Island will receive $360,000 each next year, an increase from previous years, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said.
Long Island Housing Services, based in Bohemia, and the Fair Housing Justice Center, based in the Long Island City section of Queens, will use the funds to conduct enforcement, education and outreach, including testing in the sales and rental markets, HUD said in a statement. In testing, pairs of home-seekers — with similar financial qualifications but differing characteristics such as race, disability, legal source of income or whether they have children — visit real estate agents, landlords and other housing providers to find out whether they are offered equivalent housing options.
The grants are an increase from the $300,000 each group has received annually for the last three years. Private fair-housing groups “are important partners in combating housing discrimination,” Anna María Farías, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. “The grants we are awarding today help to support these organizations on an ongoing basis.”
The funding “will allow us to do a lot more of the direct work that we do in terms of helping people with fair-housing complaints, doing testing and doing education,” said Ian Wilder, executive director of Long Island Housing Services.
Where someone lives can determine what jobs, schools and social networks they have access to, and it can affect their health as well, he said. “There should be no discrimination standing in the way of people choosing the place they live,” he said.
Fred Freiberg, executive director of the Fair Housing Justice Center, said the grant “provides some of the core funding for our testing and enforcement activities.”