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Want to learn more about FHCO’s discrimination hotline?

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Did you know that FHCO receives more than 1,500 inquiries to our housing discrimination hotline through telephone calls, emails, and website contacts each year? Through our hotline, we help individuals and families who may be experiencing illegal housing discrimination.

Housing discrimination is when someone is treated differently because of their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and familial status. At the state level, Oregon’s protected classes also include marital status, sexual orientation, source of income, and those who have experienced domestic violence. Learn more about protected class status on our website.

Discrimination may look like:

  • A mixed-race couple lied to about a vacancy
  • A young single mother who speaks very little English and is experiencing sexual harassment by maintenance staff
  • An individual with a disability being denied an accommodation, such as a parking spot close to their unit
  • A tenant finding notes under their apartment door from a neighbor with comments like, “go back to your country – we don’t want you here”
  • Someone being evicted because the landlord finds out they have a same sex partner

If you or someone you know experiences one of the above situations or another instance of discrimination, you can call our hotline at (800) 424-3247 ext. 2 on Fridays from 9am – 12pm, fill out our Report Housing Discrimination form, or email us at inquiries@fhco.org during normal business hours. Our services are available at no cost to those contacting us and without regard to residency or citizenship status.

After you contact us, we will listen to your situation and determine how best to assist.

Assistance may include:

  • A referral to one of our partner organizations if your complaint is a landlord-tenant issue
  • Direct advocacy to your housing provider, which could include drafting an advocacy letter or a reasonable accommodation request on your behalf
  • Helping you file a complaint with Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries or U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Connecting you with a lawyer who can help you file a lawsuit in state or federal court  

Are you an advocate or social service provider who needs to contact us about a client’s situation? Please fill out this form on our website.

Recent Case

Here’s a recent case that came through our hotline:

A couple applied to rent a home, but their application was denied. They learned that despite having income well over three times the monthly rent and a positive rental and employment history, the couple’s application was denied based on the husband’s credit score.

The couple requested an individualized assessment of their qualifications to rent the property and cited the disparate impact of the use of credit scores in rental criteria, particularly on the basis of race and color, in their e-mail to the housing provider, who never responded.

The couple reached out to FHCO to pursue a complaint. As part of its investigation into the case, FHCO conducted two fair housing tests, which clearly showed discriminatory treatment based on race related to the number of available units offered and differing information related to credit criteria for qualification.

With those testing efforts conducted by the organization and legal representation by Portland civil rights attorney Matthew Ellis, FHCO became an organizational plaintiff in the case in Federal District Court. The case with the housing provider was eventually settled for $25,000, and Matthew graciously contributed a portion of his share of the settlement to FHCO. We are grateful for the partnership with and support of private civil rights attorneys like Matthew in our work to end housing discrimination.

Learn more about your fair housing rights and responsibilities as a tenant on our website: Information for Housing Consumers

Interested in learning more about our work? Join us on April 21, 2022, for our third annual mission-centered fundraising event. During this virtual event, we will share stories of our work and our dreams for the future. Register for more details!

REGISTER HERE

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