Paid Fair Housing Testers help make sure that people are not denied housing because of their race, color, national origin or ancestry, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, family status (living with minor children), or because they are getting public assistance.
Believe it or not, because of unlawful discrimination, unsuspecting people are turned away from housing that they are qualified to rent or buy, every day in Maine.
But, how do we know if an owner is telling the truth about housing availability? How do we know if people are being offered different terms and conditions, like the amount of the security deposit or the cost of rent, because of their race, race, color, national origin or ancestry, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, family status (living with minor children), or source of income?
Fair Housing Testing is an effective way to get answers to these questions. Fair Housing Testers mystery shop for apartments and homes and report back about their experiences while shopping. After receiving the reports, the Test Coordinator reviews the reports to see if the Testers were treated when they tried to rent or buy a home.
Testers are trained by the Test Coordinator before being sent on their first test. After the training, the test coordinator will call the Tester when a test is ready to be performed and ask him or her if she or he is interested in that test. If the Tester can do the test then the Test Coordinator sends all the information that he or she needs to complete the test. Once the Tester gets that information she or he calls and makes an appointment to view the apartment or home and then he or she writes about what happened when she or he called and visited.
Testing fits into most schedules. Testers are paid $25 for training, and they are paid for the training when they finish their first test. Testers are paid $50 for each completed test. Testers that complete training will be sent on at least one test if they are qualified to work as a tester. (Please note that Testers cannot have prior felony convictions or convictions of crimes of fraud or perjury. A background check will be performed on all Testers before they are assigned their first test). After the first test, it is up to the tester to decide how often he or she can complete tests. Testers who write good reports will likely be assigned more test as will testers who belong to one of the protected groups.
Diverse backgrounds and experience are welcome. Our testing program needs hard-working people from all walks of life, from all the protected groups, and “control” testers who are not members of a protected group.
If you are interested in helping us with this important work or would like more information please send me an email with your name and phone number so that we can get in touch with you. You can email me, Jill Hunter, at firstname.lastname@example.org in Portland.
Updated November 2013