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The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) applauded the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies for including various protections for America’s homeowners and the U.S. real estate industry in its Fiscal Year 2021 spending bill. The measure, which cleared the subcommittee on Wednesday afternoon, provides increased investments in HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program and its Fair Housing Assistance Program. It also safeguards housing protections for LGBT Americans and funds a host of transportation infrastructure programs with the potential to spur domestic economic growth.

Last week, NAR sent a letter to congressional leadership calling for “major increases” in funding for fair housing activities and housing counseling in the FY 2021 budget. Specifically, NAR emphasized its support of FHIP. Designed to strengthen enforcement of the Fair Housing Act, FHIP directs funding to non-profit organizations that protect victims of housing discrimination.

“The American people are calling on institutions across the country to make stronger commitments to eradicate systemic discrimination,” NAR President Vince Malta wrote in the July 1 letter. “NAR supports a strong FHIP program, in recognition that paired testing, as conducted by qualified fair housing organizations, is critical to exposing and redressing unlawful housing discrimination.”

separate NAR letter, sent to Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning, reiterates the association’s support of federal housing counseling programs, particularly in light of concerns that forbearance could increase as pandemic-related assistance measures expire.

“The economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic threatens housing security for many Americans. As forbearance measures end, many homeowners may struggle with their repayment plans,” Malta said. “Housing counseling could be an effective tool to help them manage their finances and remain in their homes after the pandemic ends.”

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