Fair Housing Initiative

History: Start Up of Lakeshore Services

In 2001, the Diversity Alliance and interested community members began investigating the need for fair housing services in Ottawa County as the result of the Ottawa Area Summit on Racism. A team of thirty people began work to secure fair housing services in our area.

Over the course of the next five years, the Fair Housing Team determined the need for services existed (based on testing studies), received City of Holland funding, a Steelcase Challenge grant and raised funds to match the grant for program start-up, secured its 501(3)c tax status, secured office space, developed a Board of Directors and governance rules, hired an executive director, established a complaint line for the reporting of fair housing violations and began providing education and outreach on fair housing laws in Ottawa County.

In 2005, the Fair Housing Center of Grand Rapids received federal funds to perform complaint based testing for Ottawa County, as well as eleven other counties in west Michigan, and became the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan.

As the demand for services along the lakeshore exceeded the organizational capacity and expertise of the Lakeshore Fair Housing Center, the board began discussions with the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan a merger. In 2006, a successful merger took place and and the board of directors became the Lakeshore Advisory Board to the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan. 

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Today: Fair Housing Center of West MI

The Fair Housing Center of West Michigan is a private, non-profit organization established in 1980 to ensure equal housing opportunity as guaranteed under federal, state, and local fair housing laws. The Center accomplishes its mission through programs directed at education and enforcement, based on Title VIII of the 1968 Civil Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act. Fair housing is the right of individuals to obtain the housing of their choice (rent an apartment, buy a home, obtain a mortgage, buy homeowners insurance, etc.), free from discrimination based on protected classes. 

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based upon race, color, religion, gender, familial status, national origin, and/or disability status; state law further prohibits discrimination based upon marital status and age, and local ordinances prohibit discrimination based upon sexual orientation and source of income.

The Center investigates claims of illegal housing discrimination, assists claimants in litigation and/or administrative enforcement action, conducts testing to determine compliance and provides practical education to any organization or professional with a role in the housing industry and home-seekers. learn more...

To file a complaint, click here or call 1-866-389-FAIR.