There's an app for fair housing now.
That's right. HUD has released an app that allows you (or your clients) to file a Fair Housing Act complaint from a mobile device. The app was developed by HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) and Hewlett Packard (HP) and is available on the App Store and accessible on Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. HUD plans to release an Android version of the application soon.
Nandinee Kutty, a longtime Rooflines blogger now at HUD explains:
The new app creates a new, convenient mode of filing discrimination complaints with HUD. The app also provides relevant information about the Fair Housing Act and the housing discrimination complaint process. It informs the general public about their rights under the Fair Housing Act, and advises the housing industry about its responsibilities under the Act.
Assistant Secretary for HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity John Trasviña mentioned the case of a woman in New Jersey affected by Superstorm Sandy who used the app to file her complaint. “In a disaster situation, people may not have power in their home, may not have access to the Internet,” he said. “But if they have a phone, they can have access to the information.”
Other modes of filing housing discrimination complaints with HUD are: by phone at (800) 669-9777; for the hearing impaired at TTY (800) 927-9275; and on-line. Currently, HUD receives about 5,000 housing discrimination complaints a year directly; and about 9,000 complaints total, including those received through its Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) partners.
Here is YOUR government working for YOU.
Probably, disparate impact claims will still take a bit more preparation to document and submit, but there's plenty of straight-up direct discrimination left as well, and lowering the barriers to reporting it is always a good thing.
(Views expressed by Nandinee Kutty are her own, not HUD's. Photo by Ricky Romero, CC BY-NC.)