Join the Fight Against Housing Discrimination

The Fair Housing Council needs people from all backgrounds throughout Oregon.

What is a Test?

“Testing” works like this. Suppose an African- American calls the FHCO with a concern of being denied housing based on race. The FHCO would then send out two testers separately. One tester will be African-American. One tester will be white.

The tester’s assigned qualifications would be identical so that race would be the only real difference between them. The testers would each visit the site, inquire about the property, and then report back on how they were treated. The enforcement coordinator reviews the reports to decide whether the testers were treated differently. For example, it might be discovered that the African-American tester was told that no units are available and the white tester was told there were units available. Or, it might be found that both testers were given the same information and treated equally.

Important testing skills:

  • Punctuality, Flexibility, and Reliability
  • Attention to detail
  • An ability to remember what you observed
  • An ability to accurately write down these observations
  • A willingness to be objective and not draw conclusions or make assumptions
  • An ability to reply spontaneously when a housing provider asks an unexpected question

What is the Purpose of Testing?

The purpose of testing is to gather independent evidence. Often, testing evidence is the only way to show that someone is breaking fair housing laws. Federal courts have consistently supported fair housing testing.

When a test shows evidence of discrimination, we refer victim(s) to a lawyer, or to an enforcement agency such as the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.

What Kind of Training is Required?

All testers must attend a free 2.5-hour training session.


Are There Other Qualifications?

Testers may become witnesses at a trial or hearing. If that happens we will give you more information and guidance. There are two general rules: you must be willing to tell the truth, and not have a prior criminal conviction or any other matter in your background that a lawyer could use to discredit your testimony.

Do I Have to Drive or Have a Car?

It is not necessary to drive or have a car although it helps. If you drive, you must have auto insurance and a valid driver's license.

Are Testers Paid?

For most testing, we provide a $50 reimbursement for each assigned and completed onsite test, and $25 for each assigned and completed telephone test. We also reimburse for any related mileage and long distance phone charges incurred.

How Often Will I Test?

We can’t predict when we will need to send out testers, or what kind of tester profile is required. Some people test quite frequently, or on short notice, and others seldom or never do. How often you test often depends on the type of complaints we receive and your own availability.

How Can I Sign Up for Training?

Email FHCO to find out about training dates.