Who we are and what we do
The Toledo Fair Housing Center was established in 1975 by The Women of the Old West End and The League of Women Voters in response to blockbusting and other housing discrimination practices. The community organized to fight discriminatory practices that were destroying Toledo’s neighborhoods; the Center was organized as an effort to stop the discriminatory practices. The Center has been a leader in fair housing enforcement, having investigated over 11,000 complaints of discrimination and recovered over $27 Million in damages. Its staff has conducted workshops for fair housing organizations, government agencies, and housing industry professionals. In addition, the Center’s staff is regularly called upon by Congress to submit testimony regarding discriminatory housing practices.
The Toledo Fair Housing Center’s mission is to eliminate practices of housing discrimination and expand equal housing opportunities. In fulfilling that mission, the Center has set many precedents and increased housing opportunities locally and nationally. A partial list of the Center’s achievements include:
Toledo Fair Housing Center, et al. v. Nationwide Insurance Company: This complaint is the only complaint filed against an insurance company utilizing testing evidence. The complaint, which is pending in state court, alleges a myriad of fair housing violations based upon effectual and intentional arguments of discrimination. The Center was among the first to pioneer homeowners insurance testing and used its methodology during the investigation of this complaint.
Grey, Wainer, and the Toledo Fair Housing Center v. P.K. Mobile Home Park: The Center worked closely with The Justice Department in this case which was the first to challenge certain illegal barriers against families with children. The Federal Court set the precedent for acceptable standards for “significant services and facilities” for senior citizen housing complexes.
Old West End Association v. Buckeye Federal Savings & Loan: The standards for establishing a prima facie neighborhood redlining complaint were decided in this case.
Briceno, Klear, & Toledo Fair Housing Center v. United Guaranty Residential Insurance Company: The Center was the first to initiate litigation against and challenge the minimum insurance practices of a private mortgage insurance company in this case. The insurance company settled the complaint with a published monetary award and the abolishment of discriminatory policy not only in Toledo, but the entire country. This case compelled many other private mortgage insurance companies to abolish their minimum insurance standards and promoted cooperation between private mortgage insurance companies and neighborhood organizations.
The Toledo Fair Housing Center is an operating member
of the National Fair Housing Alliance.
Shellhammer v. Lewallen: Prior to this complaint, sexual harassment was not considered a violation under the Fair Housing Act. The successful litigation of this complaint established sexual harassment as an explicit violation under the Fair Housing Act and has been used in countless other civil cases around the country including that of model Marla Hanson. The Center pioneered sexual harassment testing in this complaint. This is the only litigated sexual harassment complaint in the country substantiated by testing evidence.
Toledo Fair Housing Center v. Lexington Apartments: The first fair housing settlement in the country to include free rental units for the homeless was a Toledo Fair Housing Center initiated complaint.
Rudolph, et al. v. Tabener, et al.: The highest award in a racial harassment case was granted in this complaint. The award of $625,000 was meant to serve as a sign that racial harassment would not be tolerated. One of the defendants in this case was also prosecuted in a criminal proceeding and served time for his crimes.
The Center’s work under The Community Reinvestment Act has resulted in countless benefits for Toledo’s central city neighborhoods. Some of these benefits include:
The renovation, building and retention of central city bank branches.
Six Community Reinvestment Act Agreements which included provisions for expanded services, incentive lending products, fair housing and equal employment opportunities.
Below-the-market interest rate mortgages loans, down-payment assistance programs, and other incentive loan products which are now offered by the vast majority of banks in Northwest Ohio.
Loan products and relaxed lending guidelines which better meet the needs of low and moderate income citizens.
VISION, HISTORY, MISSION
The Fair Housing Center will be a leading visible force in preventing and correcting discriminatory practices.
The Fair Housing Center is a professional, non-profit, civil rights agency dedicated to the elimination of housing discrimination and to the expansion of neighborhood choice for all persons. It strives to ensure equal opportunities and access to housing, neighborhoods, public accommodations, lending and insurance. The Center provides education, advocacy and enforcement, and it helps to shape public policy.
The Fair Housing Center was founded on the principles of community, tolerance and justice. It was the injustice of racial and economic discrimination that ignited The Women of the Old West End, The League of Women Voters and several other concerned citizens and community groups to establish an organization that would combat discriminatory housing practices. In 1975, the Center took its first steps toward fulfilling its mission of eliminating housing discrimination. The Center has carried out its founding principles by educating consumers and housing professionals, engaging in community development initiatives, investigating over 11,000 complaints and recovering more than $27.79 million to remedy discriminatory practices. For more than 36 years, the Center has demonstrated a talent for setting national precedents in the enforcement of fair housing laws, while expanding housing opportunities for millions of Americans.
The Center conducts multiple educational outreach programs, provides housing counseling services, advocates for the rights of victims, investigates and resolves allegations of housing discrimination, and facilitates neighborhood tours. The Center boasts a talented and gifted staff whose achievements have been recognized at the local, state and national levels. Most recently, the Center was one of four Private Fair Housing Organizations in the United States to be featured in the 2009 Fiscal Year Annual Report on Fair Housing published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
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