December 12, 2013

Grants to Maine Human Rights Commission to support sharing fair housing info

Human rights commission will work with local groups after getting $46,000 from HUD.

Staff Report

AUGUSTA — The Maine Human Rights Commission has received three partnership grants totaling $46,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to improve knowledge about fair housing laws and fight housing discrimination.

The grant awards were announced Tuesday by Amy Sneirson, the commission’s executive director.

A $27,000 grant is aimed at people with limited English proficiency, and will pay for translating fair housing documents into Spanish, Somali, Arabic, French and Creole, and distributing them to local organizations. The commission will work with such groups as the Maine Migrant Health’s Farmworker Health Council in Augusta, and other groups in Millbridge, Portland and Presque Isle.

A $10,000 grant will fund the sharing of fair housing information with groups working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals and do outreach in each county.

A $9,000 grant is aimed at improving landlord-tenant relations.

“Many landlords report to the MHRC that they have few resources for learning how to comply with complex fair housing laws, which makes it difficult for them to act proactively to avoid fair housing conflicts,” Sneirson said in the press release. “This $9,000 grant will let the (commission) meet and work collaboratively with landlord and tenant stakeholders to discuss tenancy application and lease issues, and then create templates for application forms and leases. She said the commission will then “reach out to landlords around Maine about fair housing/equal opportunity issues.”

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