On June 11th, City of Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman will host a visit from Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Assistant Secretary John Trasvina. The meeting is to recognize the recent Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) agreement between the City of Saint Paul and HUD.The FHAP is an important partnership between the federal government and the city to combat housing discrimination. Under the FHAP, local agencies enforce fair housing laws that are substantially equivalent to the Fair Housing Act. The FHAP helps to protect families and individuals who believe they have been victims of discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or familial status in the sale, rental, or financing of housing. The FHAP partnership with Saint Paul is one of the first in Minnesota.
“The FHAP partnership will give the city federal authority to investigate complaints of housing discrimination,” said Readus Fletcher, interim Director of the Saint Paul Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity. “Through increased outreach efforts, the city will also be able to educate landlords on their responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act. The partnership allows us to amplify our enforcement and community outreach efforts so we can help prevent discriminatory housing practices from occurring within our community.”
Ultimately, the FHAP partnership is a win-win-win for the residents of St. Paul, the city, and HUD. Saint Paul residents will get more localized service and attention from local staff who understand their neighborhoods and their communities. The city will be reimbursed by HUD for its housing civil rights enforcement work. HUD is able to refer cases where the protections are the same as federal law and focus on other fair housing work in other parts of the country that do not have local or state fair housing laws. FHAP partnerships have the highest levels of customer satisfaction with HUD compared to other HUD partners and, on a national basis, are able to investigate and bring to closure cases on a cost-effective basis.