Big Win Against Ohio Fair Plan

The Ohio Fair Plan (OFP) was established through legislation as a response to insurance redlining in Ohio neighborhoods, particularly affecting Black, African-American residents who struggled to access insurance coverage. Originating from the civil rights movement in the late 1960s, OFP aimed to provide insurance options to underserved communities. Insurance redlining remains a critical concern within the fair housing movement due to its implications for equitable access to insurance markets. The Fair Housing Center (TFHC) pursued public records from OFP to investigate difficulties in accessing its insurance benefits, understand its operational areas, and evaluate its effectiveness in serving its intended purpose. The Ohio Fair Plan initially resisted providing the records, arguing against its status as a public agency subject to public records requests.


Following a series of legal proceedings, including a mandamus filed by TFHC and subsequent appeals, the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously ruled that OFP qualifies as a public office and must provide the requested records. The court's decision aligned with TFHC's perspective and noted that recent legislative changes implied the legislature's recognition of OFP as a public office subject to the Public Records Act.


The records that the Ohio Fair Plan must now provide to The Fair Housing Center will help us better understand access to homeowners insurance, especially in historically redlined and disinvested areas. Access to homeowners insurance remains an extremely important Fair Housing issue. You can read the Ohio Supreme Court's decision here.

George Thomas, CEO and General Counsel of The Fair Housing Center, discussed the right to homeownership in a special "To The Point" hosted by Doni Miller on WGTE. To watch the whole special, click here.

Run Discrimination Out of Town Kick-Off Event

It was a fantastic day at the "Run Discrimination Out of Towns" kick-off event! Friends and families from all walks of life gathered for the walkathon, sharing smiles, stories, and a commitment to our cause. As we strolled together through the trails of Wildwood Metropark, laughter and camaraderie flowed freely. Colorful posters and friendly volunteers added to the lively atmosphere, making it clear that we're all taking steps toward a more inclusive future. A huge, heartfelt thank-you goes out to everyone who joined us in this walkathon, showing their support in such a heartwarming way. Your presence and dedication made this event truly unforgettable! Here's to walking hand in hand against discrimination and ushering in an era of togetherness and acceptance in our towns.


You can still register for Run Discrimination Out of Town here.

The Fair Housing Center Has Filed a Lawsuit Against Edward Rose Development Company, LLC.


The Fair Housing Center has filed a housing discrimination lawsuit against Edward Rose Development Company, LLC “Defendant,” in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Western Division. The lawsuit alleges the Defendant engaged in disability-based discrimination, violating the Fair Housing Act.


The Plaintiff, an individual with a disability, and their partner were seeking a new apartment and contacted Tracy Creek Apartments, a property managed by the Defendant. During the inquiry, the Plaintiff mentioned that they and their partner have an Emotional Support Animal (ESA).

 

The plaintiff notified the property manager that they had already received a verification letter from their trusted and qualified social service worker to submit a reasonable accommodation. The property manager told Plaintiff that this letter would not be sufficient or compliant with Defendant’s company policy, and Defendant’s policy requires using their company verification form, which includes direct communication with Plaintiff’s medical practitioner. After this interaction, Defendant failed to provide Plaintiff with general information about the apartments requested during the visit.


After a thorough investigation by The Fair Housing Center, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission also found that the Defendant’s policies and procedures requiring a doctor’s verification directly to management were overly restrictive and not compliant with the Fair Housing Act’s requirements for requesting reasonable accommodations.


A Young Mothers Fight for Safe Housing


A young mother began her journey to fair, safe housing when she sought help from The Fair Housing Center while pregnant, concerned about mold and living conditions in her HUD-subsidized apartment. She felt that the significant mold in her home was causing her health issues and would hurt her baby.


The Fair Housing Center team worked with her to make a Reasonable Accommodation request backed by medical validation. The request asked the housing provider to make the necessary repairs to remove the mold in the home or allow her to move to a different apartment. However, the housing provider still denied any problems in her unit. The Fair Housing Center helped her gather and organize evidence showcasing the significant mold issues in her home. The Center helped her file a charge with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. The Center's persistence led to a probable cause finding. Next, the case was filed before an administrative law judge. The parties settled the case, awarding the young mother $12,000.00. The housing provider's staff will also receive training from The Fair Housing Center. Ms. Huston plans to use her settlement funds to buy her first car. 



Turning Up the Heat on Local Housing Providers Who Refuse to Make Repairs


In November 2022, a mother and her children moved into their current apartment, securing a lease until November 2023. Unfortunately, their new home quickly presented challenges, from plumbing issues to an ongoing battle with heating malfunctions that forced the tenant to use multiple space heaters and oven warmth.


The mother dealt with this until February of 2023, when she finally had enough of the housing providers' lack of communication and insufficient fixes to the property. She then contacted TFHC to report the issues she was facing. The client was connected with our Housing Conditions attorney, who talked with the client about the problems they were facing. After gathering the details and evidence, the housing conditions attorney was able to help the mother put her rent in escrow. Through negotiations facilitated by the housing conditions attorney, an agreement was reached in which the mother was awarded a month's rent as compensation and could break the lease early to find more suitable housing for her and her children.

To access comprehensive information regarding the rent escrow process, please click the button below to explore our brochure on rent escrow.

Rent Escrow Information

Out in the Community

The Fair Housing Center Team working hard at Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanities: Rock the Block event in the Historic South End of Toledo

Audrey Johnson, TFHC's Development and Communications Coordinator, passed out informational brochures at Praise in the Parking Lot Hosted by Lifeway Church.

George Thomas, CEO and General Counsel of The Fair Housing Center, speaking at Caresource's Healthy Toledo Summit on how the current system handles lead poisoning.

The Fair Housing Center had a short-lived booth at The Northwest Ohio Rib-Off.

(The storm destroyed the tent on Friday night.)



Are You Ready to Be an Ambassador for Justice?

Testing is an investigative tool using trained individuals to gather credible information about housing practices. Like mystery shoppers, testers pose as renters or buyers of real estate to determine whether unlawful housing discrimination is occurring. This work is vital to ensure equal housing opportunities in our community. The valuable experience of being a tester allows you to give back to the community and serve in the fight for justice.


The Fair Housing Center is currently recruiting testers. We are looking for diverse individuals of all backgrounds. Our upcoming tester trainings are scheduled for:

Saturday, September 16, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Tuesday, October 3, 2023, from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.

 

All trainings are held at The Fair Housing Center, 326 N. Erie St. Toledo, Ohio 43604. For more information or to sign up, contact Jacqueline Banks, Testing Coordinator/Fair Housing Investigator, at 419-243-6163 ext. 114 or jbanks@toledofhc.org.

View Our Testing Brochure Here!
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