Fair Housing Center of West Michigan

make that change

Become a Volunteer

The Fair Housing Center relies on volunteers in both education and advocacy programming.  Volunteering can mean a one time commitment, for a specific event, or being available to be called upon as needs for volunteers arise.  We will work with you to find a volunteer opportunity that will work with your schedule.  We know your time is valuable and we appreciate your willingness to give some of that time to us.  We couldn't do our work without our volunteers.  For more information about any of the volunteer opportunities listed below, please contact the Fair Housing Center at (616) 451-2980 or via email at contact-us@fhcwm.org

Become a Tester

Our housing tester program is an interesting way to learn about the community and get first hand experience with fair housing.  Testers play the role of a home seeker and participate in apartment showings, open houses, and other experiences to help us monitor fair housing practices.  Testers are of vital importance to the advocacy and research programs of the Fair Housing Center.  Without a vast and diverse pool of volunteer testers, the Fair Housing Center would be drastically limited in our ability to conduct research and investigate claims of illegal discrimination.

What is a Tester?

As a tester, you play the role of a home seeker - a person who is looking for a housing unit in which to live. Testers must be at least 18 years old, objective, careful observers, accurate reporters, and truthful and credible witnesses.  View the Qualifications for Testers for more information on what characteristics are important in a tester. Testers are paid a small stipend.

What is Testing?

Testing is an investigative tool used to gather evidence.  Regarding fair housing investigations, the term "testing" is used to describe the process of checking the housing market to determine the nature and extent of discriminatory treatment practiced against various home seekers. For example, in matched pair testing two or more individuals, similar in every respect other than the variable being tested, are sent to the same sales or rental office. Testers keep careful notes as to what transpires, and then record their experience on a standard report form. Differences in the treatment of testers often form the bases for successful resolution of a housing discrimination complaint.

Why Testing?

The testing process has been consistently supported by federal courts as a legitimate and necessary method to identify practices of unlawful housing discrimination. In West Michigan, successful complaints filed by claimants have been based upon evidence obtained by Fair Housing Center testers.

How Do I Become a Tester?

If you are interested in taking on the challenging and rewarding role of a tester, register to attend the next scheduled tester training session at the Fair Housing Center.  Our comprehensive tester training sessions are held on a regular basis.  Check out our event calendar or email us to learn about upcoming tester training dates.  To register for a tester training via phone, or for more information about testing, contact Gabe Chapla at (616) 451-2980 or 1-866-389-FAIR. 

Become an Event Volunteer

The Fair Housing Center utilizes volunteers during our multiple events throughout the year.  Volunteers assist with set-up and clean-up, registration, as well as greeting and directing attendees.  If you are interested in volunteering to assist with an Upcoming Event, please contact Liz Keegan at (616) 451-2980 or contact-us@fhcwm.org.

Site Directory

Connect With Us

20 Hall Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507

Phone: 616-451-2980
Toll-free: 866-389-FAIR
Fax: 616-451-2657

Se habla español.