Celebrating Fair Housing Month


Fair Housing Month—nationally recognized in April—is a time to renew and strengthen the commitment made through the Fair Housing Act to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion in housing. In this past month, we reflected on the progress made and the work that lies ahead to ensure that everyone can access safe, decent, and affordable housing free from discrimination.


Here is a recap of just a few of The Fair Housing Center’s many events and activities in April. 


Northwest Ohio Realtors Fair Housing Month Kick Off Breakfast!


We kicked off Fair Housing Month with a breakfast event held by the Northwest Ohio Realtors (NOR), which featured a keynote address from Colette Massengale, Senior Policy Advisor for the National Association of Realtors.

Strike Out Discrimination


The Student Bar Association at The University of Toledo held its second annual Strike Out Discrimination bowling fundraiser that benefitted The Fair Housing Center. The event raised over $2,000 to help keep housing fair. We want to thank the SBA for their continued support!

Ode to the ZIP Code


This year's contest had over 300 submissions, and we were blown away by the creativity and passion demonstrated by all participants. At our in-person event, we had over 30 finalists come out and share their odes with a captivated audience. From heartfelt tributes to their neighborhoods, to odes highlighting the struggles that so many of our communities still face. The event showcased what makes our neighborhoods unique, and the finalists' work truly captured the essence of what it means to be a part of a community. We look forward to seeing all the wonderful submissions again next year.


Here are this year top Ode's from each age category:

The Fair Housing Summit


This year we held our second Fair Housing Summit, to commemorate the 55th anniversary of The Fair Housing Act. We heard from George Thomas, CEO/General Counsel at TFHC, and keynote speaker, Kevin Davenport, Senior Advisor for Coalitions and Campaigns at NCRC, as they examined the barriers to equal opportunity that we are still facing and shared solutions for creating diverse, inclusive communities.


Remember, fair housing rights are protected throughout the year. If you encounter any form of housing discrimination, it is essential to report it promptly. Contact local fair housing organizations, government agencies, or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to file a complaint and seek assistance.






A New Lease on Equality


Mr. Hardwick came to TFHC with a complaint based on disability after receiving a notice his lease would not be renewed. When he asked the property manager why the lease was not being renewed, he was told “the staff does not like speaking to him,” and that he was "difficult to deal with." Mr. Hardwick has a disability that causes him to be short with others.


Mr. Hardwick started working with TFHC's Fair Housing Specialist, who helped him submit a reasonable accommodation to grant him a longer period to find suitable housing. The housing provider accepted the accommodation and gave Mr. Hardwick longer to find a new housing opportunity.



A Tail of Victory


Ms. Emerson has an emotional support animal to accommodate her disability. However, she was out walking her emotional support animal one day when her property manager came up and started berating her for having the animal, as the property had a “no pet policy.” The property manager told her that the law, verification letter, and Ms. Emerson’s mental healthcare did not matter and that she must adhere to the property’s rules above all else.


Ms. Emerson knew this was a violation of her rights, so she contacted TFHC. She worked with our staff attorney who helped submit a claim to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, which found probable cause of discrimination. Ms. Emerson and TFHC then work to get her a settlement for the damages caused by the housing provider. The settlement was successful, and Ms. Emerson received payment for damages along with getting to keep her emotional support animal.



Turning the Tables on Termination


Mr. Henry, a resident of 16 years, faced alleged civil rights violations when his property manager issued a 30-day notice for lease termination due to housekeeping concerns. Support arrived in the form of a disability assistance agency and his caseworker, Emma, who uncovered dire conditions in his apartment—unusable sinks, a broken toilet, a challenging stove, and hazardous carpeting. Seeking justice, Henry and Emma approached The Fair Housing Center to file a reasonable accommodation request for an extension of the notice, allowing ample time to find suitable housing. The request was approved, granting Henry the opportunity to stay while he searches for a new home.

To access comprehensive information regarding disability discrimination, please click the button below to explore our brochure on Housing Rights for People with Disabilities.

Brochure

Community Grant Recipients

The Fair Housing Center is delighted to announce the selected proposals for our settlement funds resulting from the recent litigation against Fannie Mae in an effort to help address the discriminatory practices used by Fannie Mae. The following are the proposals that have received community grants:

The Junction Coalition: Creating a neighborhood navigator position.

Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity: Replacing 10 roofs across the neighborhoods of Englewood and Junction.

Monroe Street Neighborhood Center: Construction of one Tiny Home at the Bluff Street Village on Monroe St.

Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union (two programs): Down Payment assistants for eligible borrowers, and the creation of the Minority Contractor Home Revitalization Fund.

Are You Ready to Be Ambassador for Justice?

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 following tester training are scheduled for:

Tuesday, May 23, 2023, from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Tuesday, June 6, 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.

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to The Ability Center for their warm hospitality and the invaluable opportunity to visit their exceptional facilities. Our team was truly inspired by the passion and dedication that permeates every aspect of your mission. Witnessing firsthand the impact of your work on the lives of individuals with disabilities has been a profoundly moving experience.


The tour of your facilities provided us with a deeper understanding of the services and programs you offer. We look forward to continuing our partnership, working together to foster a more inclusive society, and championing the rights and abilities of every individual. Once again, thank you to The Ability Center for their generosity.

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