The fair housing world lost a giant when Tracey McCartney passed yesterday. To us, Tracey embodied the saying that there is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit. Tracey worked tirelessly but in many ways behind the scenes — known and beloved by the fair housing community but no fan of self-promotion. She played a crucial role in connecting lawyers and advocates who work for fair housing around the country, patiently herding us like cats, and ensuring a platform in which we could share knowledge, ideas, mutual support, and gallows humor. She was terrific at connecting people on an individual level, as well, and was hilarious and self-deprecating in person.
Below is the press release issued by the Tennessee Fair Housing Council. We miss you, Tracey, and will work to honor your memory.
Long-time leader of the Tennessee Fair Housing Council, Tracey McCartney left this world following illness. McCartney leaves behind a loving spouse, Nancy Blomgren of Nashville, and family who will scatter her ashes in a creek that runs by a 200-year-old white oak on her parents’ land. Here she will sustain deer and coyote, dogwood and mountain azalea.
The loss of Tracey McCartney represents a significant blow to the National Fair Housing Community. Tracey McCartney joined the Tennessee Fair Housing Council in February 1998. She was an attorney, admitted to the bars of both Alabama and Tennessee. She received a law degree from the University of Alabama in 1995. While in law school, she worked for 2½ years as a clerk/advocate for the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program, where she gained valuable fair housing experience dealing with group homes/zoning and reasonable accommodation issues.
In September 1995, she became one of the inaugural employees of the Central Alabama Fair Housing Center, which was established in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1995.
During her time at the Central Alabama Fair Housing Center, Tracey coordinated 516 individual testing visits in the areas of rental, sales and mortgage lending and assisted with 48 individual insurance tests. She also handled 141 individual complaints of housing discrimination (in addition to the hundreds of inquiries that implicated landlord-tenant or some other non-discrimination issue and were referred elsewhere), providing counseling on the law, testing, other types of investigation, conciliation, referral to HUD for investigation and referral to attorneys for litigation. She recruited and trained 90 testers for the center’s enforcement program.
Since joining the Tennessee Fair Housing Council in February 1998, Tracey provided leadership, management, and legal service. She was responsible for setting the broad direction of the agency; supervising the enforcement staff on testing, case intake and litigation; and supervising the operation of the National Fair Housing Advocate web site at http://www.fairhousing.com. Tracey’s strong skills and reputation made her a sought after trainer and consultant.
McCartney was a stalwart advocate for expanding housing opportunities to all. Her legacy will live on through the many communities
and lives she touched.