Fair Housing Contact Service (FHCS) strives to prevent and eliminate housing discrimination and promote equal housing opportunity.
The Purpose for which this corporation is formed is to support and encourage freedom of residence in the greater Akron region so that all persons, regardless of race, religion, national origin, sex, family status, or handicap, can secure the housing they want and can afford in the neighborhood of their choice. Fair Housing Contact Service shall provide assistance to individuals pursuing legal rights and remedies related to fair housing, offer housing assistance and counseling, provide community education, promote community involvement, perform research in the area of housing and assist the professional housing industry in designing, implementing and evaluating programs for affirmative action towards an open housing market in the greater Akron region.
For a printable list of services, please click here.
The Fair Housing Contact Service was borne out of the failure of government housing policy to address the needs of African-American consumers. When African-Americans migrated to Akron seeking jobs in the rubber industry, they confronted a broad conspiracy including real estate agents, bankers, property owners, neighbors and politicians to exclude them from housing, a practice known as segregation. In 1940, African-Americans were confined to living within seven census tracts in the city. Twenty years later (1960), although their population had more than doubled, African-Americans continued to dwell only in nine out of fifty-eight census tracts. At that time, Akron also began to systematically remove, through the auspices of urban renewal, housing units from the only neighborhoods in which African-Americans were permitted.
In 1962, a community group of civic leaders, calling themselves the Council on HOMES, formed to address discrimination in housing. In May 1965, after Akron’s first Fair Housing ordinance was overturned by public referendum, the Council of HOMES established the Fair Housing Contact Service. Working as an all-volunteer organization, FHCS was instrumental in the integration of many of Akron’s neighborhoods. Then in August 1968, when the city erupted in race rioting,
FHCS received a federal grant to open a center to find housing for the poor. This federal money could not be used to target housing outside of segregated neighborhoods. After two years of making little progress on open housing issues, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to return the federal money in order to focus on the pursuit of equal opportunity, FHCS’ original goal in the early 1970’s. National recognition of the Fair Housing work from this prior eventually led to the permanent establishment of a full-time center.
Today, Fair Housing Contact Service works to keep the Akron metropolitan area open for all protected classes. These include race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and familial status. In addition to investigating claims of discrimination and educating the public on the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and its Amendments, we provide the other housing services to the community. We offer counseling to tenants and landlords, offering mediation services if applicable. We offer mortgage counseling to first-time homebuyers refinancing information to homeowners and senior citizens who may be vulnerable to predatory lending. We are happy to have been serving Akron for fifty years.