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Non-Discrimination in Housing and Community Development Programs

Many non-discrimination requirements apply to housing and community development programs.

Various federal laws require housing and community development programs and activities to operate regardless of race, color, national origin, disability, sex, and other protected characteristics. FHEO enforces many civil rights laws that apply to public entities, including state and local government agencies, as well as recipients of federal financial assistance.

Civil Rights Obligations of Public Entities and Recipients of Federal Financial Assistance

Federal laws prohibit discrimination in housing and community development programs and activities because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, and disability. These obligations extend to recipients of HUD financial assistance, including subrecipients, as well as the operations of state and local governments and their agencies, and certain private organizations operating housing and community development services, programs, or activities.

For example, federal laws prohibit discrimination, including the denial of participation in and benefit of, the following examples of programs and activities: homelessness, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, the operations of social service organizations, public housing, voucher programs, other affordable housing programs, community development funded facilities, etc. Recipients and other covered entities also must take certain affirmative steps within such programs and activities to provide equal housing opportunities.

Learn more about these obligations with respect to individuals with disabilities.

Learn more about these obligations with respect to individuals with limited English proficiency.

Filing a Complaint

Federal laws protect applicants, beneficiaries, participants, and other individuals from discrimination in programs or activities administered by state and local government agencies and recipients of federal financial assistance. Examples include residents or applicants of public housing, affordable housing, and voucher programs; participants in HUD funded substance abuse or other treatment programs; residents of homelessness programs; etc. If you believe you have been discriminated against in any housing or community development program, you may file a complaint with FHEO.

FHEO has civil rights authority over the housing-related programs, services, and regulatory activities of state and local governments and recipients and subrecipients of financial assistance from HUD, including private businesses. These are some common types of HUD funding programs, and may include subrecipients, and that have civil rights obligations enforced by FHEO:

  1. Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
  2. HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME)
  3. Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG)
  4. Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)
  5. Public Housing
  6. Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)
  7. Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities (Section 811)
  8. Supportive Housing for the Elderly (Section 202)
  9. Homeless Assistance Programs (Continuum of Care, other McKinney-Vento Programs)

A more extensive list of programs that HUD operates can be found here.

Additional Resources


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