Problems arose for the Advocate when HUD published the fiscal year 1998 Notice of Funds Availability for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP). The program did not give the Fair Housing Council an opportunity to apply for funds to publish the Advocate as it has in past years. Although HUD greatly increased the funding for FHIP's national education and outreach program for fiscal year 1998, they chose to give $2 million to one agency for one enormous project.
According to the Notice of Funds Availability for 1998 projects, the national education and outreach FHIP projects had to include television, radio, and print advertisements. The project also had to be in several languages, and the agencies who applied for the funding needed signed agreements with national advertising agencies. So, although there was more money in the national education category than ever before, the Advocate was locked out.
Without the resources nor the geography to undertake the massive education and outreach project, the Kentucky Fair Housing Council applied for regional education and outreach money, although the Advocate is a national publication. HUD denied the Council's application for regional funding. Because the announcement came so late in 1998, the Council did not even have the chance to publish a final issue of the National Fair Housing Advocate to inform its 20,000 subscribers that no new issues would be forthcoming.
Government officials, real estate professionals, and civil rights workers have called for renewed funding for the National Fair Housing Advocate. They have sent many letters to HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo, including one from Senator Wendell Ford (D-KY). Senator Ford and others have expressed the hope that HUD's decision to end funding for the Advocate was merely an oversight.
Since 1991, the Kentucky Fair Housing Council has published the National Fair Housing Advocate in an attempt to highlight the success stories of the fair housing movement. It is the only free national publication of its kind. Many fair housing professionals regard the Advocate as a very important tool in their enforcement and litigation efforts. Thousands of real estate professionals receive the Advocate and use it in their fair housing training.
The Kentucky Fair Housing Council is seeking funding from private sources to renew printing. The Council is asking several groups to fund one or two issues at a cost of approximately $10,000 per issue.