National Commission on Fair Housing and Equal

 Opportunity- Chicago Hearing

July 15th, 2008


On Tuesday, July 15, 2008 the National Commission on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity held its first hearing in Chicago, Illinois entitled, “Still Separate and Unequal: The State of Fair Housing in America.” Commissioners in attendance included former HUD Secretaries Jack Kemp and Henry Cisneros, I. King Jordan, President Emeritus of Gallaudet University, Pat Combs, Immediate Past President of NAR, Gordon Quan, former Houston Mayor Pro Tem and Housing Committee Chair, and Okianer Christian Dark, Associate Dean of Academics at Howard University College of Law.  More than 150 individuals attended the day-long hearing at the Access Living building in Chicago.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan gave opening remarks, welcoming the Commission to Chicago and emphasizing the role of discrimination in the current housing crisis. "This crisis is the direct result of unfair, deceptive and discriminatory lending practices by the lending industry," Madigan said.  Madigan’s office recently filed a lawsuit against Countrywide for unfair and deceptive conduct in mortgage lending.

Secretaries Kemp and Cisneros heard testimony from panels covering four major themes: current conditions of segregation and discrimination, the costs and consequences of segregation and discrimination, the role of the federal government, and housing choice and access to opportunity. Each panel featured four or five witnesses who spoke for ten minutes before taking questions from the Commissioners. The day concluded with a public comment period from regional fair housing advocates, academics, industry representatives and others.

NFHA members were well represented among the day’s witnesses and those providing public comment:

  • Jim McCarthy, Miami Valley Fair Housing Center and Chair of NFHA
  • Lisa Rice, Vice President of NFHA
  • Kathy Clark, Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance
  • Bill Tisdale, Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council
  • Bernie Kleina, HOPE Fair Housing Center
  • Vince Curry, Fair Housing Advocates Association
  • Nancy Haynes, Fair Housing Center of West Michigan
  • Jill Fenner, Fair Housing Center of Nebraska
  • Gail Schechter, Interfaith Housing Center
  • Clyde Murphy, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

The Commission received and continues to received news coverage. The Chicago Tribune, Globe St., Crain’s Chicago Business, The Bradenton Herald, NPR, Chicago Public Radio, ABC News and others covered the event.

We also thank the many of you that provided written testimony and encourage others to do so. Thanks to everyone who helped make the hearing so successful and well-attended.

  Chicago Hearing Testimony
  Chicago Commission Video
Chicago Commission Part 1

Chicago Commission Part 2

Chicago Commission Part 3

Chicago Commission Part 4

  News Coverage

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