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Program Focused on Eliminating Environmental Hazards and Combatting Sexual Misconduct in HUD-Assisted Housing.

Baltimore, Maryland – United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Inspector General Rae Oliver Davis hosted a seminar today focused on promoting the health and safety of tenants living in HUD-assisted housing by focusing on eliminating environmental hazards and combatting sexual misconduct in HUD-assisted housing.

The seminar, which took place at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore, was part of the HUD Office of Inspector General’s new community outreach initiative.  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.

“Marylanders deserve to live and raise their families in areas that are safe and  where those who are tasked with providing HUD housing treat them with dignity and respect,” said U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron.  “My office is committed to addressing systemic environmental and housing violations that exist in underserved communities who rely on HUD’s housing assistance programs.  We hope our partnership with HUD-OIG, and with other federal agencies and community advocates, will afford us the necessary resources to support vulnerable communities in a more coordinated and impactful way.  The Safe Housing Summit is the first step of our expanded effort.”

“Everyone deserves to live in a home that is free from exposure to lead and other environmental hazards, and without the threat of sexual harassment or sexual assault by housing providers,” said Inspector General Oliver Davis. “Outreach summits like the one we cohosted today with the U.S. Attorney are an important way to increase awareness of tenants’ rights within HUD-assisted housing and build stronger partnerships within the community. We will continue to work closely with our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate these violations of law.” 

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 file a complaint with HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at https://www.hud.gov/fairhousing/fileacomplaint.  

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 (410) 209-4965, [email protected] or https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/civil-rights.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.