About HOPE Fair Housing Center

Our Vision

HOPE’s vision is housing opportunities for all members of our communities to rent or buy any home they can afford, thereby creating economically sound, vibrant neighborhoods.


Our Mission

HOPE Fair Housing Center works to create greater housing opportunities for all. We want to ensure everyone has the chance to live in the community/home/apartment of their choice free from discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, familial status, or any other characteristics protected under state or local laws. HOPE accomplishes this through education, outreach, enforcement, training, and advocacy.

HOPE’s History and Original Founders

HOPE was established in 1968 when a family was found living in a garage in Wheaton, IL. A few individuals dug into their savings to buy and renovate a house for the family in need. This historic effort marked the first family assisted housing in DuPage County. But for the pioneers of HOPE it was just a simple act of helping a family enjoy the right to a decent place to live. When other people asked for similar help, HOPE developed an innovative housing plan which was publicized in the national media. An article was published on September 20, 1970 in an issue of Parade Magazine, titled “A New Lease on Life” which generated nationwide interest from start-up housing centers from all around the country. Through private contributions, homes were bought, renovated and made available to families at affordable rents. HOPE members acted as plumbers, electricians, carpenters and janitors to demonstrate how people could be decently housed and neighborhoods improved at the same time.

In 1970, HOPE became a full-service fair housing organization with a professional staff. Bernard Kleina was HOPE’s first Executive Director from 1970 to 2011. HOPE’s mission became challenging the policies and practices of a system that worked to the disadvantage of people protected by the Federal Fair Housing Act. Thanks to the help of hundreds of volunteers and contributors, HOPE has remained faithful to that mission.

Initial Incorporators and Officers

Mr. & Mrs. Phillip Chinn
Mr. & Mrs. Giles Kelly
Hartman & Shirley Stime
Richard & Ruth Riha
Ms. Fran Holtzman

Initial Board of Directors

Ms. Jo Bellinger, President
Mr. John Waters, Vice President
Ms. Fran Holtzman, Secretary
Mr. Phillip Chinn, Treasurer



Annual Award for Business Excellence: Not-for-Profit Organization

awarded by the Daily Herald Business Ledger


Enhancing Elgin Award

awarded by the Elgin Chamber of Commerce


Community Organizations Recognition Day 2007 Spiritual Good

awarded by the DuPage AME Church


Fair Housing Testing Award

awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development


Fair Housing Testing Award

awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development


Best Practice Nominee

awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development


Outstanding Achievement Award

awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development


Spirit of ADA Award

awarded by the DuPage Center for Independent Living



Monday - Friday
9 am to 5 pm CST