SSHC was formed in 1975 by several chapters of the League of Women Voters for the purpose of monitoring and addressing discriminatory real estate practices in the south suburbs of Chicago. From this origin, SSHC developed programs to become the regional fair housing enforcement and housing counseling agency serving the south metropolitan area.
The communities that comprise SSHC’s primary service area are the most racially diverse, outside the city limits of Chicago, in the region. When you look at the housing patterns of this area, however, you find a wide spectrum of diverse inclusiveness, economic disparities, high mortgage default and foreclosure rates, as well as segregated neighborhoods and communities. SSHC’s challenge is to continue to expand the operation of programs that effectively combat the forces that cause racial and economic segregation and that promote inclusive regional housing markets throughout.
SSHC’s comprehensive Housing Counseling and Fair Housing Enforcement programs assist individuals in all protected classes and ensure that housing providers recognize and comply with fair housing laws. Operating complimentary counseling and enforcement activities allows SSHC to take a more holistic approach to resolving problems in the housing markets that prevent inclusiveness. Recent SSHC program efforts to address the mortgage foreclosure crisis, impacting communities of color more severely than predominantly white communities, highlight the need for this interrelated programmatic assistance.
SSHC works in partnership with a network of other municipal, business, civic and advocacy groups to address the fair housing issues of the region. Locally, SSHC maintains a close working relationship with Diversity, Inc. and the Housing Collaborative Steering Committee programs associated with the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association to address regional fair housing issues. SSHC is an active member of the Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance (CAFHA), which is a metropolitan-wide consortium of 30 private and governmental bodies organized to coordinate fair housing programs, strategies and research. Nationally, SSHC has been an operating member of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) for more than twenty years, currently participates on NFHA’s Board of Directors, and has recently joined with NFHA and other member organizations to bring Fair Housing Act violation complaints against large mortgage lenders for discriminatory practices involving their maintenance and marketing of abandoned foreclosed REO properties.