Fair Housing Update

Wednesday, November 8: 9:00am – 10:30am

In this session, speakers will share their fair housing knowledge and answer questions in regards to fair housing issues and trends that attendees are seeing around the state. Discussion will go over how to avoid steering, updates on VAWA, criminal history challenges and fair housing hot topics.

Session Materials:

Fair Housing Update Presentations (1.29 MB Adobe PDF File)


Joe Maskovyak, Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio
Joe Maskovyak started at COHHIO in August 2014 after having served on the COHHIO board for many years. He is a long time housing advocate, starting his career at the Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC) where he became the managing attorney for housing and worked on behalf of low income housing clients in Franklin County. In 2007 he moved to the Ohio Poverty Law Center (OPLC) where he pursued legislative work around housing on the state and national level. He has a bachelor's degree in Russian and Political Science and a master's degree in Political Science from Bowling Green State University (BGSU). Prior to attending law school, he spent 4 years teaching in the Political Science Department at BGSU. He earned his JD from The Ohio State University and is licensed to practice law in Ohio and Florida.


John Zimmerman, Central Ohio Fair Housing Association in Columbus
John Zimmerman is Vice President of the Central Ohio Fair Housing Association in Columbus, Ohio and the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center in Dayton, Ohio. He is certified by the real estate governing bodies in Ohio and Michigan to conduct education classes on Fair Housing, providing continuing education credits for REALTORS® and appraisers. He instructs courses for trase associations that offer course from the National Association of Leasing Professionals (NALP) and provide fair housing credits for CAM and CAP certifications for property managers. John has helped provide continuing education credits for property managers, nurses, social workers, CPA's, city planners, contractors and architects by working collaboratively with trade organizations, non-profits and other educational organizations. He has a Bachelor's degree from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. He lives in Pleasant Hill, Ohio.

Gary Katz, Cleveland Tenant Organization
Gary was born and raised in the Greater Cleveland area. He graduated from Shaker Heights High School. Gary attended Indiana University in Bloomington, IN and graduated with a double major in both Communication and Theater. After living in Los Angeles and working in the entertainment industry, he decided to move back to his hometown after living through the Rodney King riots. Gary began his career of public service upon his return to Cleveland. He began working for the City of Cleveland's Community Relations Board. He was a Dialogue Group Coordinator and a representative of Cleveland's 6th Police District. He was hired by former Cleveland City Council Member, now County Council Member, Dale Miller as the Safety Coordinator for Bellaire Puritas Development Corporation (BPDC). It was there that he honed his consensus building skills. He did this through organizing block and street clubs; working with the area's schools to help them address community issues; and empowering residents to collaborate with the police on a variety of safety concerns. It was also at BPDC that Gary was first introduced to mediation as a powerful problem solving tool. Originally trained by Sister Noel Mara at Ascension Church, he quickly recognized the usefulness of mediation in everyday conflict. Gary began to work with The Cleveland Mediation Center to strengthen his skills and gain useful experience. Gary continued his mediation education at American Center for Conflict Resolution. His experiences lead him to create his own company which provided neighbor to neighbor mediation services for residents in the City of Cleveland. It was during this time that the late Judge Raymond L. Pianka (Cleveland's Housing Court Judge) took notice of Gary's work and offered him a job. Gary began working for the judge in 2005 and for the next 11 years served as Housing Court's Mediator. He was mediating approximately 1400 cases a year at a success rate of over 90%. He has expertise in mediating evictions including both possession and money hearings; rent escrow and small claims. His responsibilities also included working with both landlords and tenants in the court's housing clinic, facilitating public meetings and conducting landlord/tenants trainings. It is with this expertise that Gary comes to Cleveland Tenants Organization to help lead CTO into the next chapter in its 43 year history.

Carrie Pleasants, The Housing Research & Advocacy Center
Carrie Pleasants was appointed as the Executive Director The Housing Research & Advocacy Center on March 1, 2016 after serving as the Interim Director since July of 2015. Carrie served as the Associate Director at The Housing Center since 2008, overseeing the management of The Housing Center's enforcement, education and outreach, and research programs and assisting in the management of the organization. Originally from the Akron area, Carrie moved to Cleveland in 2000 and joined The Housing Center (then called the Metropolitan Strategy Group) as the research and mapping specialist. In 2001, Carrie became the Director of Research & Investigations, overseeing and conducting research projects and testing until becoming the Associate Director in January 2008. She has served as the testing coordinator or supervisor for all testing projects performed by The Housing Center since February of 2000 and has supervised more than 4,000 rental, lending, sales, insurance, and accessibility tests. In addition, she has conducted a number of research projects at The Housing Center related to housing and lending discrimination, payday lending, and impediments to fair housing. Carrie received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geography with a minor in Cartography from Kent State University in 1997, and her Master of Arts in Geography with a specialization in urban geography from Kent State University in 2001.

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