Local housing group loses grants, launches GoFundMe campaign

The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center was recently denied grant money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development resulting in a $425,000 budget shortfall.  The organization helped improve this Osmond Avenue home in Dayton and others in troubled local neighborhoods with money from a settlement  with Wells Fargo Bank. CONTRIBUTED
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The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center was recently denied grant money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development resulting in a $425,000 budget shortfall.  The organization helped improve this Osmond Avenue home in Dayton and others in troubled local neighborhoods with money from a settlement  with Wells Fargo Bank. CONTRIBUTED

A regional nonprofit that works to eliminate housing discrimination may be forced to curtail services and lay off staff because it was recently denied funding by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center is now trying to make up a $425,000 shortfall with an urgent appeal to HUD and a GoFundMe campaign, said Jim McCarthy, president and CEO.

“We’re still trying to figure out what it means,” he said. “HUD has supported us continuously since 2000, and we have always had excellent performance ratings, so it’s not an issue with our performance.”

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McCarthy said the situation resulted from an unanticipated new special program requirement for 2018 awards that prohibited affiliate organizations from receiving funding. In 2014, Miami Valley Fair Housing Center helped start the legally-separate Central Ohio Fair Housing Association in Columbus. The Dayton-based group provides some management and supervision services to the new organization in Columbus, he said.

“It’s our understanding that we’re not funded because we have been working to stand up a private fair housing organization in Columbus,” McCarthy said.

We are reaching out to HUD for comments.

Miami Valley Fair Housing Center is a private nonprofit that pursues cases of housing discrimination in seven southwest Ohio counties and also receives financial support from Dayton, Kettering, Montgomery County and Springfield through Community Development Block Grant funds.

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The organization is already taking steps to cut costs and seek stopgap funding. The funding gap represents about half of the organization’s $898,000 annual budget adopted in December, McCarthy said. The GoFund me page had raised $2,390 in six days as of Wednesday afternoon.

“It is very sad and we’re trying to sort it out. We believe strongly in equal housing opportunity,” he said. “We’re very disappointed.”

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