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Released May 20, 2004

INSTITUTE FOR DISABILITY STUDIES AWARDED $100,000 HUD GRANT

HATTIESBURG -- The Institute for Disability Studies (IDS) at The University of Southern Mississippi has received a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support an education and outreach initiative titled "HousingSmart."

This project is designed to ensure equal housing opportunities and increase home ownership for Mississippians with disabilities. In accordance with HUD policy priorities, HousingSmart embraces the need for providing increased homeownership and rental opportunities for low- and moderate-income persons, persons with disabilities, the elderly, minorities, and families with limited English proficiency. IDS will provide a wide-ranging education and outreach program through the HousingSmart project.

"People with disabilities face many barriers to housing in our state," said Royal Walker, associate director of the Institute for Disability Studies and project director for HousingSmart. "There must be a concerted effort through advocacy and training of educating people on their fair housing rights. We're committed to that here at the Institute."

Project activities for tenants and home-seekers include the following:

• Tenant Workshops - Workshops include an overview of fair housing laws, identification of protected classes, overview of landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities, and a question-and-answer session.

• Booths - IDS will staff booths at community events to provide fair housing literature and services.

• Presentations - FHF conducts presentations at community organization events to provide information on fair housing and services.

• Project activities for housing professionals include the following:

• Landlord Workshops - Workshops include an overview of fair housing laws, identification of protected classes, overview of landlord and tenant law rules and regulations, and a question-and-answer session.

The Institute for Disability Studies is Mississippi's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD) headquartered for 30 years at Southern Miss. The institute provides university training, community service activities, research, and information that promote the independence, productivity, and community inclusion of individuals with disabilities and their families.

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May 21, 2004 5:03 PM

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