Congressman Brian Higgins has announced $325,000 in grant funding for the organization Housing Opportunities Made Equal. The grant, awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, aims to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices and to ensure individuals know their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.
"It is unacceptable that discrimination continues to play a role in our society," Higgins said. "However, it is reassuring to know that HOME is available for Western New Yorkers to turn to for assistance."
HOME Executive Director Scott W. Gehl said, "Thanks to the support of Congressman Brian Higgins and the New York congressional delegation, HOME will be will able to continue its work with our partners at HUD to keep alive the promise of fair housing in the nation's sixth-most racially segregated metropolitan area."
Housing Opportunities Made Equal, a Buffalo-based civil rights organization, works to promote diversity and assure equal housing opportunity for all. HOME has led the struggle for fair housing in Western New York since 1963.
HOME was among only 10 organizations in New York to receive funds though HUD's fair housing initiatives program, which supports programs that assist people who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination.
This federal funding will allow HOME to recruit and train new fair housing investigators, establish partnerships with other nonprofits to promote fair housing, and conduct systematic investigations of larger housing providers and real estate firms, in addition to numerous other activities aimed at reducing housing discrimination. Federal support allows HOME to provide services throughout all of Erie and Niagara counties, and to respond to requests for service from Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties.