HUD Focuses on Housing Safety at Recent Summit

U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Inspector General Rae Oliver Davis recently hosted a Safe Housing Summit to promote health and safety for tenants living in HUD-assisted housing.

“Our office is determined to address inequities in our district that exist in underserved communities who must heavily rely on HUD’s housing assistance programs,” said U.S. Attorney Buchanan. “These citizens deserve to live and raise families in residential areas that are safe and thriving. Our partnership with HUD-OIG, and with other federal agencies and community members, will afford us the necessary resources to support at-risk communities in a more coordinated and impactful way. This Summit is just the beginning of our expanded effort.”

The Summit took place at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta, and focused on eliminating environmental hazards, as well as combatting sexual misconduct, in HUD-assisted housing. The topics included safe housing strategies, environmental justice concepts, and how to recognize and report sexual misconduct in HUD-assisted housing. Participants included representatives from organizations who routinely work with vulnerable populations most likely to be impacted by environmental injustice or sexual harassment in housing by their landlords, property managers, maintenance staff, and other housing personnel in positions of authority.

“Everyone deserves to live in a healthy and safe environment without fear of being exposed to environmental hazards or being sexually harassed or assaulted by their housing provider,” said Housing and Urban Development’s Inspector General Oliver Davis. “We are working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to spread the word about ways to help victims who currently are experiencing such violations of their rights or who have been impacted in the past. Outreach summits like the one we cohosted are an important way to increase awareness, share information, and build strong partnerships in the community to help call out and eliminate these problems together.”

A variety of organizations and local law enforcement agencies also attended the Summit, including fair housing organizations and organizations which provide pro bono legal services. Participants were encouraged to build partnerships and share concerns during a networking session.

“Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination prohibited by the Fair Housing Act, and no one should be forced to endure illegal harassment in exchange for housing,” added U.S. Attorney Buchanan. “We will continue to devote resources to enforce the Fair Housing Act by investigating and prosecuting discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status.”

HUD-OIG conducts audits, evaluations, investigations, and other reviews of the programs and operations of HUD, using traditional and innovative approaches to improve the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in the administration of HUD programs. HUD-OIG also protects the integrity of HUD’s programs and operations by identifying opportunities for HUD programs to progress and succeed.

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Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 25-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, most recently serving as Editor-in-Chief for National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He graduated from the New York Institute of Technology, where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books, and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.
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