Advocacy/Lobbying, Education/Teaching/Training, Program Management
Open Communities Overview:
Founded by local activists in 1972, Open Communities’ mission is to educate, advocate and organize to promote just and inclusive communities in north suburban Chicago. Its membership includes residents, congregations and civic organizations. A not-for-profit organization, its free and confidential services include investigation of fair housing discrimination and landlord/tenant advice and mediation, foreclosure and predatory lending counseling and prevention, fair and affordable housing advocacy, and grassroots organizing for just and open communities.
The purpose of this position is to investigate housing discrimination in all arenas of the housing market through the deployment of trained volunteer testers, on-site investigations, and monitoring of advertising, and to conduct fair housing education and outreach activities throughout Open Communities’ service area (17 suburbs in northern Cook and southern Lake counties).
Status: Reports to the Director of Fair Housing; full-time, 40 hours per week, non-exempt
FAIR HOUSING TEST COORDINATION
Assign, plan, and structure fair housing test investigations; prepare written summaries of test results; compile statistical data from test results.
Coordinate the recruitment, training, assignment, debriefing and supervision of volunteer testers, working evening and weekend hours and/or by phone as necessary.
Assist the Director of Fair Housing and legal counsel with the preservation of evidence for the filing of fair housing enforcement actions.
Collaborate with Director of Fair Housing to respond to bonafide complaints by conducting objective investigations in response to allegations of fair housing violations.
Maintain database of housing providers flagged for potential discrimination.
Research Open Communities’ service area to determine where to conduct systemic investigations for discriminatory practices.
Initiate systemic tests within the rental and sales markets, collaborating with area municipalities and fair housing groups where appropriate.
Collaborate with sister organizations locally, regionally and nationally to conduct systemic investigations of housing providers, financial institutions, and others that engage in de facto exclusionary practices.
Conduct non-traditional fair housing investigations, including field work, meetings with tenants’ or homeowners’ associations, and statistical research in support of investigations as needed.
Prepare written reports summarizing testing program on a regular basis, as assigned.
Monitor real estate ads and publications.
FAIR HOUSING EDUCATION AND OTHER
Help organize activities in support of fair housing goals, particularly in April (National Fair Housing Month).
Assist in securing and delivering workshops on fair housing to community groups, congregations, real estate professionals, and other north suburban stakeholders.
Collaborate with sister organizations on fair housing advocacy as members of the Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance
Assist with, and participate in, other Open Communities programs and events as assigned.
Commitment to fair housing and civil rights.
Volunteer management or staff supervisory experience of at least one year.
Successful facilitation and training experience.
Highly personable and able to work with people of all races, ages, and diverse backgrounds.
Excellent analytical, written, and verbal skills.
Strong research skills.
Excellent computer skills.
Highly organized and detail-oriented.
Able to work a flexible work schedule.
Solid understanding of unconscious and structural racism.
Access to car and valid driver’s license required.
Experience in fair housing enforcement and civil rights.
Previous experience in the coordination of fair housing testing highly desirable.
Knowledge of the northern suburbs strongly preferred.
Knowledge of real estate desirable.
Additional Salary Information: Depending upon qualifications
About Open Communities
Open Communities is a leading voice for housing, economic and social justice in north suburban Chicago, working to promote inclusive and diverse communities that are welcoming to all. Founded in 1972 by north suburban residents and congregations, Open Communities (formerly known as the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs) is a non-profit, membership-based organization whose programs include: Fair Housing Discrimination Investigation and Education, Foreclosure Prevention Housing Counseling, Landlord/Tenant Advice, Immigrant Leadership Development, affordable housing advocacy, and community organizing.