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About Us

Creating Inclusive Communities of Opportunity

Fair housing ensures that more people have access to quality schools, good jobs, and other key services that help them realize their potential and strengthen our community. By promoting diversity, fair housing also enhances the fabric of our neighborhoods.

That is why The Fair Housing Center was founded in 1975: to help unlock the doors of opportunity for our community. The Center is a national leader in efforts to eliminate housing discrimination and enforce fair housing laws. Its work helps ensure every person’s access to safe and affordable housing regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, familial status, sexual orientation, or military status.

Vision

The Fair Housing Center will be a leading visible force in preventing and correcting discriminatory practices.

Mission

The Fair Housing Center is a nonprofit civil rights agency dedicated to the elimination of housing discrimination, the promotion of housing choice, and the creation of inclusive communities of opportunity. To achieve our mission, the center engages in education and outreach, housing counseling, advocacy for anti-discriminatory housing policies, research and investigation, and enforcement actions.

Our Impact

Since its founding, the Center has operated as one of the most progressive and effective proponents of fair housing, leading national efforts and setting precedents that have markedly improved the quality of life for millions of Americans.

It started with one complaint, and over the last 40 years of assisting victims of housing discrimination, the Center has investigated more than 12,000 allegations and helped recover more than $33 million in damages.

The Fair Housing Center FAQ

How do I know if I’m a victim of housing discrimination?
Housing discrimination occurs when someone treats you unfairly because of your protected class in the rental, sale, insuring, or financing of a home. Protected classes include race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, familial status, military status (state protection), and sexual orientation (local protection). Discrimination could include denying housing, limiting housing options, or applying different criteria, terms, or conditions based on your protected class.

Who qualifies for assistance?
The Fair Housing Center serves all residents of Lucas and Wood counties. Our services are free and confidential, and there are no income requirements. Fair housing laws apply to all individuals; everyone is a member of a protected class.

Can The Fair Housing Center help with finding housing, legal services, financial assistance for rent or home repairs, foreclosure prevention, or emergency housing?
The Fair Housing Center does not provide these services, but please visit our resources page to locate other community services that may be able to help.

If I’m having a problem with my landlord, does that qualify as a fair housing issue?
It depends. If you have a general dispute with your landlord (i.e., rent collection, neglect of maintenance), this is typically a landlord/tenant dispute and you need to seek help from an appropriate agency. Please visit our resources page. If you suspect you are being treated differently than other tenants because of your protected class, this could be housing discrimination. Please contact us or assistance.

Are there protections for persons with disabilities?
Fair housing laws require housing providers to allow reasonable structural or policy changes that enable a person with a disability to fully use and enjoy their home. This may include ramps, grab bars, handicap parking, or assistance animals. Please visit our disability rights pagefor more information.

Who has to comply with fair housing laws?
The entire housing industry has to follow fair housing laws, including rental, sales, lending, appraisal, and homeowners insurance.

If I’m a housing professional, how do I make sure I’m following the law?
The Fair Housing Center provides education and outreach services to help the housing industry understand and comply with the law. Please visit our housing professionals page to review tips and best practices, download or request brochures, or request a training for your staff.

Services

Protections for Persons with Disabilities - The Fair Housing Act Protects You

Persons with disabilities are protected by the Fair Housing Act. A disability is defined as any impairment that significantly limits a major life activity such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. In addition to physical disabilities, protection extends to those with mental and emotional disabilities as well.

In order for a person with a disability to fully use and enjoy their home, they may require changes to an apartment or house. Depending on the situation, a housing provider may be required to allow or provide for such changes.  Read more....

Your Rights as a Renter - Discrimination is Not Always Obvious or Apparent

Landlords and housing providers cannot deny you housing for discriminatory reasons. If you hear the following statements, it may be a sign of housing discrimination:

  • “Are you sure you can afford the rent?”
  • “We don’t have these units available for people with disabilities.”
  • “The neighborhood isn’t child-friendly.”
  • “I already rented the apartment to someone else.”
  • “You may be more comfortable in another unit/building.”

Read more....

Protections for Homebuyers - Everyone is a Member of a Protected Class.  Owning a home is fundamental part of the American Dream. Searching for a home should not be hindered by discriminatory practices. The only thing that should affect your ability to buy a home is whether you can afford it, not who you are.

The Fair Housing Act protects you from being discriminated against in the sale, rental, financing, or insuring of housing based on your protected class.  Read more....

Service & Assistance Animals - Service & Assistance Animals Are Not Pets.  The Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of housing because of a person’s disability. The FHA requires a housing provider to make “reasonable accommodations” in rules, policies, practices, or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a person with a disability full use and enjoyment of their dwelling. An assistance animal can be a reasonable accommodation to pet related policies.  Read more....

Fair Housing for Housing Professionals - Fair Housing Defined. Fair housing means freedom of housing choice—the right and ability to choose where one wants to live. All persons should have equal access to housing opportunities. Housing discrimination is defined as any attempt to prohibit or limit a person’s housing choice because they are a member of a protected class.  Read more....

Fair Lending Practices - Fair housing helps ensure more people have access to the resources that enable them to thrive and reach their potential. The Fair Housing Center strives to preserve homeownership, which serves as the key to the American Dream for many families and creates a strong foundation for neighborhood stability. Fair lending practices are essential to expand access to credit and banking services for all members of our community.

Historically, redlining practices have limited the financial and development opportunities within low to moderate income neighborhoods and communities of color, contributing to blight and disinvestment. The Fair Housing Center monitors the policies and practices of the lending industry, identifying lending patterns that may disproportionately impact our urban core, making homeownership and access to reliable, stable banking products out of reach for many families.  Read more....