Katrina evacuees are continuing the hunt for housing not only in Houston but across the country as well. The Housing and Urban Development secretary was in Houston to launch an education campaign to let evacuees know about their rights.
HUD officials say that nationwide they’ve received about 90 complaints from evacuees who believe they were discriminated against while seeking housing. About 14 of those are in the Houston area and are still under investigation. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson says a new education campaign is meant to help evacuees understand their rights concerning housing discrimination. Jackson says the campaign was announced in Houston because of the sheer number of evacuees who are currently here. Jackson, a Texas native, praised the city’s efforts.
“When the people Houston opened their hearts, they were color-blind and I can tell you they embarrassed the country to begin to do what was right.”
HUD’s Fair Housing Policy Director Bryan Greene says most complaints are alleging race discrimination. But Greene says beyond looking for violations of the Fair Housing Act, they want to help evacuees with housing issues.
“Sometimes it may be another housing problem where we can get them some assistance. So we want to make sure we’re out there, people know that we’re there. We know housing programs if they don’t so even if it’s not discrimination in the Fair Housing Act sense we want to hear from them and we want to let them know who can help them.”
Greene says on average, HUD settles about one-third of complaints.