Congressman Brian Higgins, NY-26, has announced $308,167 in federal funding for Housing Opportunities Made Equal awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
"In an ideal world, discrimination wouldn't be an issue, but unfortunately for too many it is, and thankfully Western New Yorkers have HOME to turn to for assistance," Higgins said.
HOME was among only 95 organizations in the country receiving funds through HUD's Fair Housing Initiatives Program, which supports programs that assist people who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination.
"This grant will permit HOME to help victims of discrimination from seven counties of Western New York, to conduct targeted investigations of compliance with federal and state fair housing laws, to train landlords and other service providers, and to conduct education aimed at informing people of their rights," said Scott Gehl, executive director of Housing Opportunities Made Equal. "Buffalo-Niagara is the sixth most racially segregated metropolitan area in the nation. This renewed support from HUD keeps alive the hope of creating stronger diverse communities. "
HOME was founded in 1963 by members of the Buffalo Area Council of Churches seeking to protect residents against discrimination in the Buffalo-Niagara housing market. Higgins is among community leaders listed as a "Friend of HOME" and recently provided the keynote address at its 50th anniversary gala.
In 2012, Home served more than 4,800 individuals on issues ranging from cases of discrimination to counseling for landlords.