FHC-Detroit Publishes "$20,000,000 And Counting"

There are over 70 private, non-profit, enforcement oriented fair housing centers in the United States that are also members of the National Fair Housing Alliance -- a national coalition of private, non-profit, enforcement oriented fair housing groups. Staff at FHC-Detroit were aware that most of these groups have been involved in gathering testing evidence that has assisted in the filing of many housing discrimination suits in state and federal courts. What FHC-Detroit did not know, and what no one else knew, was how many housing discrimination suits have been filed, what has been their outcome, and how much financial recovery has there been for plaintiffs from those lawsuits. Armed with those questions FHC-Detroit requested, and was granted permission by the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), to survey the NFHA member groups and publish a report about the lawsuits that have been assisted by those groups.

The first of those reports, covering fair housing lawsuits filed from Jan. 1, 1990 through Dec. 31, 1994, has now been published: $20,000,000 and COUNTING. The title tells us that plaintiffs have recovered in excess of $20,000,000 (actually $23,557,405.76) in damages from defendants in the 320 closed cases in which the amount of financial recovery for the plaintiffs was disclosed. There were 521 housing discrimination lawsuits filed between 1990 and 1994, with 409 closed by the end of 1994. Most of the lawsuits involved allegations of racial discrimination (283, or 54%), with 148 (27%) of the complaints charging discrimination against families with children. Most lawsuits were filed in Federal courts (nearly 60%), with the vast majority involving rental properties (85%). The 72 page report lists the 521 cases individually, with Court case names and numbers (when available) and then aggregates many other interesting pieces of information about housing discrimination lawsuits in the United States.

National Fair Housing Alliance outgoing Chairperson, William Tisdale, in a preface to the Report commented that the study "...is a comprehensive documentation of the monetary successes that we, as a national fair housing movement have achieved. This report symbolizes what can be accomplished by a few under funded and under staffed organizations which share the common mission of eliminating barriers to equal housing opportunity."

FHC-Detoit Executive Director, Cliff Schrupp, in an Introduction to the Report noted, with "Thanks" the special efforts of: FHC-Detroit's Legal Services Coordinator, Michael Olshan, who gathered the statistics from the fair housing groups around the country; Marvin Thomas, FHC-Detroit Coordinator of Investigations and Testing who, as an outgoing member of the NFHA Board of Directors helped to interest NFHA in the Report's compilation; Timothy Davis, whose computer skills were used to help compile and aggregate the statistics cited in the Report ; and the FHC-Detroit Board of Directors who authorized staff time and resources for this unfunded project. Schrupp noted that "$20,000,000 represents substantial confirmation that private litigation of housing discrimination complaints is an effective tool and a growing trend in fair housing law enforcement."

Over 300 copies of the Report were distributed at the National Fair Housing Alliance Annual Conference in June, 1995. There are a limited number of extra copies available from FHC-Detroit, at $6.00 per copy, for those who may be interested. Please call or write FHC-Detroit with your order.