Since 1977 the Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit (FHCMD), a private, non-profit, citizen based organization - with IRS 501 (c)  tax exempt status - has worked to help assure equal housing opportunities throughout the metropolitan Detroit area. As you will discover when you browse this website, FHCMD has had many significant successes, especially in relation to improving the enforcement of fair housing laws, with subsequent improvements in the fair housing behavior of housing providers in the metropolitan Detroit area. The recovery from defendants of over $11,000,000 for the plaintiffs in 394 closed litigations has made a positive difference for fair housing. Our goal is to assure that homeseekers are able to exercise their equal rights to the housing of their choice, without encountering unlawful housing discrimination.
The Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit was established in April 1977; later that year the first housing discrimination lawsuit that was supported by FHC testing evidence was ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.
Since then, The Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit has actively investigated over 6,000 complaints and contributed to over 11 million dollars in settlements. FHCMD has played a major leadership role in supporting fair housing across the United States; having assisted in helping establish fair housing centers in over 20 different metropolitan areas and working to train and inform hundreds of home seekers, attorneys, property owners and management companies.
Key Milestones and Accomplishments:
- Contracted with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Housing Market Practices Survey, the nation's first social science study of the quality and quantity of racial discrimination in the nation's rental and sales housing markets.
- Recipient of the Kimberly M. Cahill Award from the State Bar of Michigan, in recognition of the Center's 30+ years of fair housing activity, including its work with hundreds of members of the State Bar.
- Contracted with government housing agencies on the county and federal level to conduct testing and produce standardized guidelines for housing-related inquiries.
Purpose and Programs
The Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit (FHC), a non-profit, tax-exempt, citizen based organization, was established in April, 1977 for the purpose of addressing fair housing issues in the metropolitan Detroit area. FHC seeks to assure equal access to housing without discrimination based on race, sex, age, color, religion, national origin, familial, marital, sexual orientation or disability status. Consistent with the level of resources available, FHC:
- Assists in the investigation of complaints of unlawful housing discrimination;
- Refers some housing discrimination complainants to other agencies or legal resources;
- Initiates negotiations, conciliations and litigations to help resolve equal housing disputes;
- Provides homeseekers with information about the sales and rental market and assists homeseekers who are considering non-traditional housing choices;
- Conducts research projects and housing surveys to evaluate fair housing practices or assist in industry self-testing programs in the sales, rental or mortgage lending markets;
- Provides consulting and program implementation services to employers, businesses, units of government and housing providers that are seeking to develop or implement fair housing programs;
- Conducts training and public information programs on fair housing issues;
- Works with neighborhood groups, community organizations and other service providers to help promote and achieve more racially and ethnically diverse neighborhoods.
FHC has a record of performance that establishes the organization as a professionally competent, effective and reliable fair housing service. Working cooperatively with local, state and federal units of government, FHC has, since it was organized in 1977:
- Investigated over 6000 complaints of unlawful housing discrimination.
- Assisted over 400 complainants resolve allegations of unlawful housing discrimination in 325 successfully concluded lawsuits filed in state and federal courts. Total financial recovery for plaintiffs, through settlements or awards, exceeds 11 million dollars - averaging over $33,000 per concluded litigation.
- Conducted over thirty-five major fair housing testing surveys under contracts with various agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), The Urban Institute, the ARCUS Foundation, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR), the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and the Michigan Association of Realtors.
- Developed and conducted fair housing training and information programs reaching over 10,000 participants in over 150 units of government, financial institutions, apartment rental and real estate sales firms in the metropolitan area.
- Wrote HUD required "Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice" for 10 units of government, including the State of Michigan.
- With its own resources and through grants and contracts with HUD, MDCR and The Joyce Foundation, assisted in the establishment and development of fair housing groups/programs in over 20 metropolitan areas in the United States.
- Through its newsletter, Fair Housing News, and the publication of a national housing discrimination case litigation log, the FHC has become a major source for fair housing information in the metropolitan Detroit area and throughout the United States.
- Since they were started in 1998, the Center's Annual Fair Housing Leadership Awards Receptions have honored 43 housing industry representatives who have taken specific and courageous steps to follow and support fair housing laws.
The Center receives funding through membership donations, individual and corporate gifts, grants, bequests and contracts for services with government agencies and private housing providers. Requests for information or services are welcome. FHC has IRS 501(c) tax status. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by Federal law.
The Passing of Michael Olshan
Very grieved to report that Mike Olshan, a longtime staff member of the Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit (FHC), passed away early on the morning of August 2, 2018. His lovely and supportive wife, Faye Olshan, survives him.
If anyone would like to send a card or memorial donation, it can be sent to:
P.O. Box 141126
Detroit, MI 48214
I became involved in fair housing in 1990 after meeting Mike, as he always encouraged attorneys and others to become involved in fair housing. I know that many of you knew Mike from his posts, presence at many seminars and conference, and, perhaps most of all, his reminders for updated case information for the annual "$190 Million and Counting" database Mike compiled from his survey of National Fair Housing Alliance members.
We will all remember his passion for fair housing and civil rights. Those that knew Mike even earlier that this will remember his work on death penalty cases. You should all know that you were very important to him. He was always appreciative of the work you do and personally shared in your victories and defeats.
Incoming FHCMD Executive Director