Unclear on Fair Housing Law? The FHEC Can Help.

1. A landlord doesn’t return a voice mail from an African-American applicant interested in renting an apartment, but does call a white applicant back.

2. A property manager tells a family with children that they can’t rent the only available apartment because it is on the third floor with a balcony and that would be dangerous for their young children.

3. A veteran in a wheelchair is told that he can’t rent an available apartment in a four-flat because there are stairs and no ramp.

Discrimination? Yes, no, or maybe?

Scenarios like this are offered in trainings on housing discrimination laws, provided throughout Chicago by the Fair Housing Education Consortium (FHEC), a project funded by the Department of Housing and Economic Development.

Now completing its fourth year, FHEC has completed 140 trainings, reaching 500-600 people annually throughout the city. Information is given on who and what is protected under city state and federal fair housing laws. Attendees include community organizations, immigrant groups, landlords and tenants alike.

The formation of the consortium was initiated by LCBH, which continues to coordinate the project. Other member agencies include Access Living, Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the John Marshall Fair Housing Legal Support Center.

Through FHEC trainings, landlords can learn best practices to avoid violating the law and tenants can learn what their rights are, what resources are available if they believe they have been discriminated against, and how to file a complaint. Individuals or groups interested in training can contact LCBH at fairhousing@lcbh.org .