The Fair Housing Law Center, in close collaboration with its partners, provides the first and only coordinated effort in the 28 county region of Western Pennsylvania to affirmatively promote through testing, legal advice, counsel, and representation the rights of the protected classes delineated in the Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Law Center provides services throughout a largely rural region covering 18,500 square miles with a widely dispersed population of 2,700,000 individuals. The Fair Housing Law Center was launched and is operated by Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services (SPLS). Since 1968, SPLS has been recognized as a leader in providing comprehensive legal and supportive services to low-income rural families. Since 2005, the program has increasingly focused its resources and professional legal expertise on addressing the multiple, often complex issues involved in ensuring decent, safe, adequate housing for citizens residing in the region.
With FY 2007 FHIP EOI funding, SPLS commenced the West Penn Rural Fair Housing Educational Outreach Initiative (West Penn EOI), encompassing 24 rural counties in western Pennsylvania. Initially, the focus of the West Penn EOI centered on promoting awareness of fair housing rights and remedies throughout the targeted area. SPLS and its partners engaged in a successful year-long effort to inform and educate citizens regarding the scope of protection and remedial value of this crucial federal and state protection.
In April, 2010, SPLS, together with its four legal services partners, and seven additional “Rights Advocate Partners,” launched a more concentrated and broader initiative adding a Private Enforcement Initiative component (West Penn PEI), to the West Penn EOI program. The West Penn PEI and EOI projects have experienced continued success, meeting or exceeded all projected outcomes since 2010.
In 2014, West Penn Rural Fair Housing received PEI and EOI funding from HUD to allow the program to continue their efforts to educate the public of their rights under the Fair Housing Act and provide comprehensive legal assistance to victims of housing discrimination.
In December 2016, West Penn Rural Fair Housing became the Fair Housing Law Center and will continue to seek and ensure safe, decent, affordable housing to all individuals without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status.