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November 24, 2018

About Us

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. In November of 2019, the Fair Housing Action Center became a program of the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition.

Please Note: We do not provide direct financial services to tenants who need help paying their rent. We may, however, be able to refer you to other organizations and agencies that might be able to help, depending on the eligibility requirements and funding availability.

History

In 2018 Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc., the only statewide fair housing and tenant advocacy organization in Maryland closed, leaving a gap in Fair Housing testing and enforcement, and tenant-landlord services.

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 to create the Fair Housing Action Center of Maryland, which became a dedicated program of the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition in November of 2019.

Staff

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.

Robyn Dorsey, Fair Housing Director
Robyn Dorsey is a social work unicorn with experience in program development, program evaluation, community organizing, legislative and regulatory advocacy, research, and direct service. She first came to MCRC to manage the Securing Older Adult Resources (SOAR) program, then transitioned to being the Policy Research and Reinvestment Manager. In this role, Robyn led MCRC’s research work including Taking the Low Road: How Auto Insurers Drive Up Rates for Women. Robyn has built a community reinvestment program with statewide reach and a deep focus on the race-based disparities in and around Baltimore City.

Robyn now serves as Fair Housing Director by educating consumers about their housing rights, training housing providers, and developing a testing program to identify discrimination. Outside of work, Robyn can be found wandering in the wild, gardening, or reading The Pout-Pout Fish (with all the voices) over and over and over again.

Current Board

As we are now a program of the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, please go here to see a list of our Board of Directors and their affiliations.

Founding Board

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
Consultant

Shavaugn Jackson
Executive Director, Diversified Housing Incorporated

Mary Demory
Past BNI Maryland Board member

Barbara Samuels
Managing Attorney, ACLU