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Green: Senate Takes Step to Restore Fair Housing Funding, a Victory for All Seeking Equal Opportunity
Washington, DCThe Senate Appropriations Committee approved a measure to restore funding for fair housing programs that is similar to a recently passed House amendment introduced by Congressman Al Green.
Greens amendment to the Transportation, Treasury, the Judiciary and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) appropriations bill was co-sponsored by Representatives Barbara Lee, Alcee Hastings and Raul Grijalva.
This represents a major victory for all those seeking an equal opportunity to build a better future for their families. I am pleased that both chambers have acted in a bipartisan fashion to reinforce Congress commitment to ending invidious discrimination. For far too long housing discrimination has robbed and stolen the great American dream of having a place to call home from thousands of families, said Green.
Green, a member of the Financial Services Committee, which has oversight of HUD programs, took issue with the shortfall and massive across the board cuts in housing funding. The Green/Lee/Hastings/Grijalva amendment calls for restoring funding for fair housing initiatives under HUD to the FY 05 level of $46.5 million from the $38.8 million identified in the Administrations FY 06 budget.
On July 18th, Green, along with thirty-eight of his colleagues, sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging support for the $46.5 million identified in the House passed appropriations bill. As a result, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, the Judiciary and HUD played an influential role in increasing Senate funding levels to $46 million, just short of Greens House amendment.
To reach a compromise on funding levels to the House and Senate Transportation, Treasury, HUD and Judiciary appropriations bills, conferees will be meeting in coming weeks.
Green added, Equal access to housing represents a fundamental American right that is continually denied to millions. To be denied housing on the basis of ones race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, and familial status should be unacceptable in todays society. This injustice results in segregated communities and prevents us from having true diversity and multicultural exchange within our neighborhoods.
Despite the passage of the federal Fair Housing Act over 37 years ago, it is estimated that more than 3.7 million fair housing violations still occur annually. Fair housing programs play critical roles in fighting housing discrimination. These programs provide resources to fair housing organizations, non-profit groups, and State fair housing enforcement agencies to educate consumers on the trappings of housing discrimination and provide resources for enforcement. More importantly, these funds are used to investigative efforts which provide proof of housing discrimination.