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PHILADELPHIA, PA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Inspector General Rae Oliver Davis hosted a Safe Housing Seminar today focused on promoting the health and safety of tenants living in HUD-assisted housing.

The seminar, which took place at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia as part of the HUD Office of Inspector General’s new community outreach initiative, focused on eliminating environmental hazards and combatting sexual misconduct in HUD-assisted housing. The topics included effective safe housing strategies, environmental justice concepts and issues, and how to recognize and report sexual misconduct in housing.

Participants included representatives from organizations who routinely work with vulnerable populations most likely to be impacted by environmental injustices, such as lead paint in their homes, or become victims of sexual harassment in housing by their landlords, property managers, maintenance staff, or other housing personnel in positions of authority. Organizations represented included local law enforcement agencies, legal aid offices, fair housing organizations, shelters, and transitional housing providers. Participants were encouraged to share their experiences, concerns, and expertise to build future partnerships and provide aid and assistance to beneficiaries when reporting matters related to health and safety in housing.

“My office and our investigative partners at HUD OIG are committed to the comprehensive environmental justice strategies aimed at reversing environmental inequities in underserved communities that rely heavily on HUD’s housing assistance programs,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “Through our longstanding partnership, we will also continue to work together 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. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by the Fair Housing Act, and together we will investigate and prosecute offenders taking advantage of tenants and prospective tenants in violation of the law.”

“Environmental justice violations and sexual harassment in housing are egregious violations of a person’s right to safe and fair housing under federal law,” Inspector General Oliver Davis said. “We are working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to spread the word about ways to help victims who currently are experiencing these issues or who have been impacted by them in the past. Outreach events like the one we hosted today 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.”

If you or someone you know has information about environmental hazards and unsafe unit conditions in HUD-assisted housing or has been a victim of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or sexual exploitation—even if the events occurred years ago—report it to the HUD Office of Inspector General Hotline at 1-800-347-3735 or visit the website at www.hudoig.gov/hotline.

You may also contact the U.S. Department of Justice at 1-844-380-6178 or visit www.civilrights.justice.gov. Individuals who believe they may have been victims of environmental injustices or housing discrimination may also contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 615 Chestnut Street, Suite 1250, Philadelphia, PA 19106, ATTN: Environmental Justice Coordinator Erin Lindgren, [email protected], or Civil Rights Coordinator Lauren DeBruicker, [email protected].

HUD OIG Sexual Misconduct in Housing Public Service Announcement: www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqXSMjUZIZU

HUD OIG Environmental Justice Public Service Announcement: https://youtu.be/Xk4uExYYph0

DOJ Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative: www.justice.gov/crt/sexual-harassment-housing-initiative

DOJ Environmental Justice Initiative: www.justice.gov/oejwww.justice.gov/usao-edpa/divisions/civil-division/environmental-justice

Updated September 28, 2023

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