Stella Adams, the Executive Director of the award-winning North Carolina Fair Housing Center, has over ten years experience in fair housing. She was the senior fair housing investigator for the Durham Human Relations Commission until she joined NCFHC in April 1995. Stella was the lead investigator in the U.S. v. Roehampton Investments, which resulted in the largest fair housing award in North Carolina history. This case also was the first collaborative effort between the Justice Department and a local enforcement agency. The North Carolina Fair Housing Center has twice received recognition from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for Outstanding Achievements in education, outreach and advocacy.

Stella is recognized for her vision and advocacy. She exhibits a personal commitment to the cause of civil rights and equal access. Stella’s commitment to fair housing is faith based and Christ centered. In 1998 she endured a 30 day hunger strike to protest the predatory lending practices of NationsCredit and her concerns that the NationsBank/Bank of America merger would result in higher fees for consumers and less access to credit for minority and rural communities across the country. Her sacrifice raised these issues to public attention and started a movement that resulted in the passage of an Anti-predatory lending bill in North Carolina. This bill is recognized as the strongest in the country. She has inspired and assisted others across America to seek passage of similar legislation. The GAO issued a recommendation to the Federal Reserve to conduct full fair lending compliance reviews of merging Banks and their affiliates as a result of these protests.

In addition to her advocacy for equal access, Stella is an ardent advocate for accessibility for person with disabilities. Through testing, Stella was able to highlight the almost total noncompliance with current fair housing laws requiring multi-family housing built after 1991 to be accessible. She brought complaints against several builders and again raised public attention. Her efforts resulted in substantial changes in the North Carolina Building Code, which took effect July 1, 1999. These changes will insure that all newly constructed housing will be in compliance with the law or local authorities will not permit them. Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) held congressional hearings on the matter and efforts are being made to address both advocate and industry concerns about HUD’s enforcement of these provisions.

Stella is nationally recognized as a superb trainer of both professional and lay groups. She has presented to groups such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Federal Trade Commission, National Fair Housing Alliance, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, National Neighbors, National Association of Human Rights Workers, NAACP, Household Financial Group, and North Carolina Association of Realtors.

Stella currently serves on the following Boards and Commissions: National Fair Housing Alliance; National Association of Human Rights Workers; North Carolina Fair Housing Advisory Council; Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina; Leadership Triangle Foundation; Durham Soil and Water Conservation District (elected position); NC Chapter NAACP; Durham Democratic Party and the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People. She is also a member of the following organizations: National Association of Black Elected Officials, National Association of Human Rights Workers; National Fair Housing Alliance; National Association of Conservation Districts and the North Carolina Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Stella has twice been listed in Outstanding Young Women of America (1983,1987), listed in Who’s Who (2000), recognized as a Distinguished Woman of North Carolina (1996) by the North Carolina Council of Women in the category of Government Service, and recognized by both Governor James Martin and Governor James Hunt for her volunteerism (1990,1996).