HUD Launches Fair Housing App
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), working in conjunction with Hewlett Packard, released a housing discrimination mobile application (app) for iPhone and iPad, which offers everything anybody wants to know about Fair Housing facts at their fingertips, anywhere and anytime.
This tool is meant to educate the public about Fair Housing Act rights and also acts as an avenue to file a complaint. The app brought HUD “into the 21st century” and helps ease traffic on the department’s hotline and reduces paper complaints, says John Trasviña, HUD’s assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity.
While the app is targeted to the tenant or resident, property owners also have a quick and easy resource to help stay focused on Fair Housing laws and practices.
Fair Housing app makes filing discrimination complaints convenient
According to the numbers, Fair Housing compliance appears to be improving. However, officials believe there is far more housing discrimination than actually reported.
The app will enable those who may not have the convenience of Internet through traditional avenues the opportunity to reach HUD. One agency spokesperson believes the app should be especially useful for Latinos and African Americans who rely on smart phones for Internet access.
Users are happy with the HUD app
Whether the app will promote more reporting of discrimination remains to be seen, but the response so far has been favorable.
HUD spokesperson Shantae Goodloe said that the app is being downloaded and complaints are being filed.
A look at HUD’s Fair Housing app
Filing the complaint is easy. In a test, we progressed so swiftly through the program because of its ease that we feared we’d accidentally filed a complaint. We later learned that had the complaint been filed it would have gone directly to the regional office closest to the zip code input.
At the same time, we decided to brush up on our Fair Housing knowledge in regard to the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for apartment units built after March 1991, when the laws changed. Within three taps we were there.
Here are a few other features and benefits you’ll find on the new housing discrimination app:
Fair Housing information at your finger tips
Looking up information and filing a complaint on the app is easy. Screens and information fields are presented clearly and easy to read and maneuver. Short menus allow easy access to file a complaint, learn Fair Housing rights, contact the discrimination hot line, and more.
Brush up on Fair Housing issues with the app
The app offers information for property owners and managers to brush up on basic Fair Housing facts. Five subcategories detail everything from what Fair Housing covers, what’s prohibited, protection for disabled tenants, requirements for new buildings, and housing opportunities for families.
Assists with natural disaster recovery
The app is accessible immediately after a natural disaster, providing assistance for those who are searching for housing or for property owners and managers who need to accommodate. iPhones are one of the few ways to access the Internet during power outages.
“In a disaster situation, people may not have power in their home, may not have access to the Internet. But if they have a phone, they can have access to the information,” said Trasviña.
Easy to read with zoom feature
The app utilizes the built-in accessibility features of iPhones and iPads, allowing sight impaired users to magnify entire screens. The app offers a technologically up-to-date way to access critical information in a hurry. “It’s using the latest technology to make sure we’re accessible to people around the country,” Trasviña said.