HUD Makes Millions Available to Fight Housing Discrimination

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced that it is making $39.2 million available to fight housing discrimination under HUD’s 2015 Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). This year’s funding notice also creates six new types of grants that support fair housing capacity building, education and outreach activities, and testing in rental and sales transactions.

Each year, HUD makes funding available to support organizations interested in the enforcement of fair housing laws and policies as well as educating the public, housing providers, and local governments about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.

“The funding is part of the Department’s ongoing commitment to giving our fair housing partners the vital financial resources they need to create sustainable, inclusive communities of opportunity,” says HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Gustavo Velasquez. “Organizations dedicated to this work are an essential component of our efforts to put an end to unlawful housing discrimination and these grants make their work possible.”

The categories of grants being made available are:

  • Private Enforcement Initiative grants (PEI) – $29,275,000 available. HUD awards these to help local non-profit fair housing organizations carry out testing and enforcement activities to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices.
  • Education and Outreach Initiative grants (EOI) – $3,500,000 available. HUD awards these to groups that educate the public and housing providers about their rights and responsibilities under federal law or state and local fair housing laws that are equivalent to the Fair Housing Act.
  • Fair Housing Organizations Initiative (FHOI) – $6,425,000 available. HUD awards these to help build the capacity and effectiveness of non-profit fair housing organizations, particularly organizations that focus on the rights and needs of underserved groups, such as rural and immigrant populations.

The new categories of grants being made available today include:

FHOI:

  • Special Emphasis Component – Up to $350,000 per grant – These grants will strengthen the enforcement activities and capacity building efforts of organizations and help them pursue cases that investigate systemic patterns of discrimination.
  • National/Regional Testing Component – Up to $500,000 per grant – These grants will enable organizations to develop and support a national/regional testing program to identify discrimination in rental and sales transactions.

EOI:

  • National Programs Component – Sex Discrimination – $500,000 per grant – Organizations will use this grant to conduct education and outreach projects that counter sex discrimination in housing, including domestic violence, sexual harassment, gender stereotyping or discrimination based on gender identity.
  • National Programs Component – Sex/Familial Status Discrimination – $500,000 per grant – This grant will enable organizations to conduct education and outreach projects that focus on one or more forms of sex or familial status discrimination.
  • National Programs Component – National Origin Discrimination – $500,000 per grant – Organizations will use this grant to address one or more forms of national origin discrimination in rental, sales, or lending.
  • National Programs Component – Disability Discrimination – $500,000 per grant – This grant will enable organizations, using the results of recent discrimination studies, to conduct education and outreach activities that address discrimination based on disability, particularly discrimination experienced by individuals with mobility impairments, hearing impairments, and cognitive or mental disabilities.

For more information, visit www.hud.gov.

Judy Gratton Your Real Estate Edge

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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Building a Deck- A Comparison of Materials

Building a Deck? A Comparison of Materials

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Looking for a way to enhance your outdoor space? A deck may be the answer. According to the experts at Fiberon Decking  the materials you decide to use, whether wood or composite, can affect the project from initial investment to maintenance years from now.

Building a deck with composite materials will cost more than virgin wood initially, but not as much as most homeowners think. The substructure is the same cost for either option and the remainder of the project could cost about 25 percent more for composite. However, most wood lumber is pressure-treated with different chemicals to boost its integrity and make it last longer.

That cost is often recouped over time because there is little maintenance required with composites – maintaining a wood deck can cost hundreds of dollars each year. Nail pops and splinters are common safety hazards with wood decks, as are cracked, warped and rotted boards that need to be replaced. And refinishing a wood deck can cost up to $850!

Composites are also environmentally-friendly – the material not only saves trees, but is created from recycled materials, keeping waste out of landfills.

Want to see how the numbers compare? Visit http://www.epa.gov and check out the EPA’s GreenScapes Tools Excel Decking Cost Calculator.

Judy Gratton Your Real Estate Edge

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Buyer Beware (of Maytag Appliances)

HELP ME MAKE THIS GO VIRAL!!!

I just got of the phone with a supervisor named “Ingrid” at the Maytag “Customer Experience” call center. My Maytag French door bottom freezer refrigerator that I bought in 2006 just quit on Saturday. Not only did it quit but the ice door that drops ice out keeps opening and closing with a snapping sound that you can hear all over the house. It’s sort of like Chinese water torture without the water! She told me that Maytag made a decision to stop fixing this problem in January of 2013. She also told me that Maytag reserves the right to deny service to anyone who buys one of their products!
I guess that’s why they refer to it as a “Customer Experience” rather than “Customer Service”
I paid a couple of thousand dollars for that refrigerator and it is less than a 10 years old! I have a 15 year old Kenmore in my garage that I have never had a single problem with.
There have been many people who have reported the same problem. Maytag acknowledged that it was a fault in the manufacturing and was fixing it until January of 2013. This is one of two Maytag appliances I bought at the same time. The other was a washing machine that died earlier this year.
So I guess you can count on Maytag to last maybe 9 years if your lucky. Don’t buy Maytag appliances unless you are okay with a “CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE” rather than “Customer Service”! #Maytag, #Badappliances, #Badcustomerservice