Everyone has the right to safe housing, free from discrimination, harassment, and code violations. The Fair Housing Action Center of Maryland works to ensure landlords, lenders, realtors, and property managers are in compliance with the Fair Housing Act, and works to ensure tenants across Maryland are living in safe and healthy housing. We have two distinct program areas: Fair Housing Enforcement, and Tenant Advocacy.
Please Note: We do not provide direct financial services to tenants who need help paying their rent. We can, however, refer you to other organizations and agencies that may be able to help, depending on the circumstances and funding availability. If you are a tenant, and need assistance with rent payments, please download our fact sheets for Baltimore City or Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, and Howard Counties.
In 2018 Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc., the only statewide fair housing and tenant advocacy organization in Maryland, announced it was shutting its doors, leaving tenants with no where to turn and fair housing cases still pending.
A dedicated group of advocates (including the Community Development Network of Maryland, ACLU-Maryland, Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, Brown Goldstein and Levy, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and others teamed up with the National Fair Housing Alliance to create the Fair Housing Action Center of Maryland. While FHAC-MD is not yet fully operational, the group is dedicated to creating Maryland’s only fair housing organization with better structure, outcomes, and fiscal sustainability.
Carol Ott, Tenant Advocacy Director
Carol advocates for affordable moderate- and low-income rental housing, code enforcement, blight eradication, and economic development in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods in Baltimore. She also assists low-income renters with substandard housing issues, rent escrow, and other tenant advocacy matters. Carol has been writing about housing and advocating for fair and safe housing in Baltimore since 2008.
Her focus area has been Baltimore’s most vulnerable communities, most of which have been plagued with issues such as lead paint poisoning, vacancy, and substandard rentals for more than fifty years. In addition to her advocacy and legislative/policy work, she works with tenants and neighborhood/community associations to bring problem properties and landlords into compliance.
Shannon Darrow, Fair Housing Director
Shannon oversees our Fair Housing education, investigation, and enforcement work. Through outreach and training, she works to increase fair housing knowledge and appropriate applications of the laws. She provides advocacy for individuals who feel they may be victims of housing discrimination, and conducts fair housing investigations, both client-based and systemic, to determine if unlawful discrimination may be occurring.
Shannon has worked in the community development field for the past ten years, and most recently served as the Fair Housing Program Manager at Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc. Through enforcement of fair housing laws, she promotes access to housing, stabilization of neighborhoods and marketing of neighborhoods to combat disinvestment and promote residential racial and economic integration.
Odette Ramos, Chair
Executive Director, Community Development Network of Maryland
Robert Pierson, Vice Chair
Partner, Pierson & Pierson LLP
Marceline White, Secretary
Executive Director, Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition
Claudia Wilson Randall, Treasurer
Executive Director, Diversified Housing Incorporated
Past BNI Maryland Board member
Managing Attorney, ACLU