MCJ awarded HUD grant to fight housing discrimination

For Immediate Release


October 28, 2014

CONTACT: Sid Scott, Mississippi Center for Justice, 769.230.2841,

JACKSON—The Mississippi Center for Justice was recently awarded a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant to address housing discrimination in the state. The money, a $125,000 Education and Outreach Initiative grant, was awarded through HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP).

MCJ will use the grant to target special needs populations in the realm of fair housing. Those targeted include: those living with HIV and their service providers; people living in rural areas; and non-English speaking immigrants. Fair housing workshops and presentations will be conducted throughout the life of the grant. Workshops will be conducted in counties with the most people living with HIV, as well as rural counties and the three coastal counties of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson.

John C. Jopling, MCJ Housing Law Director and Managing Attorney for the Gulf Coast office, said the grant will help pay for much needed work in the fair housing arena.

“We have no state-based fair housing enforcement agency in Mississippi,” Jopling said. “This makes it even more important for us to spread awareness and find cases that are in violation of HUD rules.”

Charles O. Lee, Fair Housing Project Manager at MCJ, said, “We are grateful to receive HUD funding for a second year so we can continue to build capacity to educate and eradicate housing discrimination in Mississippi.”

The efforts taking place under the grant are part of MCJ’s housing campaign, which is based on the fact that safe, decent, affordable housing is sorely lacking in areas across our state. In addition to an uneven distribution of housing across social, racial and economic lines, fair housing remains an urgent problem in our state. Anyone who thinks he or she has experienced discrimination can contact MCJ at 228.702.9981, or HUD at 1.800.669.777 (voice) or 1.800.927.9275 (TTY).

The Mississippi Center for Justice is a nonprofit, public interest law firm committed to advancing racial and economic justice. Supported and staffed by attorneys, community leaders and volunteers, the Center develops and pursues strategies to combat discrimination and poverty statewide.