The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is giving $350,000 to the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii to investigate and fight housing discrimination.

The grant is part of $38 million that HUD is awarding to organizations nationally to conduct outreach and enforcement regarding fair housing.

The funding comes just two months after the Hawaii Disability Rights Center filed a complaint with HUD contending that the Hawaii Public Housing Authority doesn’t provide enough units that are accessible to disabled people.

Dept of Housing and Urban Development Building. Washington DC. 27 feb 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is awarding $38 million to fight discriminatory housing practices nationwide. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii settled a case with the Housing Authority earlier this year after an immigrant couple alleged the agency didn’t provide an interpreter during eviction-related hearings.

The nonprofit also represented a homeless woman who said Hawaii’s biggest homeless shelter, the Institute for Human Services, told her she couldn’t stay there because she couldn’t get up off the floor without assistance. The case was settled last year.

“Every person should have a fair chance to live in a community of opportunity, free from discrimination,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in a press release. “HUD remains deeply committed to fighting housing discrimination so folks have an equal shot at achieving the American Dream. Working closely with our fair housing partners on the ground, the investments we make today are a strong step forward to put an end to housing discrimination.”

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