Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced $125,000 in federal funding for Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc. (COI). The funds were provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) Education and Outreach Initiative grants.
The funding will specifically be used for outreach and education efforts on discriminatory housing practices for minorities, non-English speakers, and disabled homebuyers and renters throughout Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. COI will distribute fair housing informational materials to 6,000 individuals and will air public service announcements on local radio and cable television stations on the topic of “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.” Additionally, the funds will allow for five individuals with housing complaints to be referred to the Fair Housing Organization, and an additional five to be referred to legal aid for their housing complaints. COI staff will attend public hearings to learn more about best practices in fair housing.
“These vital federal funds will ensure that organizations like Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc. are able to help residents and agencies across the region promote equal access to affordable housing for all residents, and all those susceptible to housing discrimination,” said Senator Schumer. “I am proud to announce this funding for a local organization doing such great work. After all, having a roof over your head is one of life’s basic necessities, and we must do everything we can to help provide those in need with equal access to a decent and affordable place to live.”
“These federal funds will help ensure that residents in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties have access to the resources, education, and support they need to learn about their rights regarding fair housing,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I’m thankful that Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc. provides outreach efforts to members of the community who are vulnerable to discrimination in the housing process. I will continue to fight for funding that helps ensure that fair housing is available for New Yorkers.”
“We are very happy to have the opportunity to continue our fair housing efforts in the community (Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties),” said Franklin Monjarres, Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc. Executive Director. “We will continue to build our outreach network and educate our residents concerning their housing rights and continue our work towards building equity for all.”
HUD’s FHIP Education and Outreach Initiative grants are awarded to state and local governments, fair housing enforcement organizations, and fair housing organizations that represent groups of persons who are protected by the Fair Housing Act. The grants may be used to develop educational materials on housing accessibility, analyze local impediments to housing choice, provide housing counseling and classes, convene meetings that bring together the housing industry with fair housing groups, and mount public information campaigns. More information can be found here.