The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) last year commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, historic legislation that established this nation’s commitment to equal housing opportunities.
While significant progress has been made since 1968, there’s more work to be done. As a nation, we are continually improving our commitment to fair housing. April may be Fair Housing Month, but we need to raise awareness and take action every day of the year. As a broker, you play a vital role in keeping fair housing front and center, starting with new-agent training. Make fair housing a topic of discussion in your brokerage and a focus for specific activities throughout the year.
It’s essential to keep current on what’s happening in your community. Use Fair Housing Month as a reason to redouble your efforts to understand local fair housing ordinances and reflect on how your actions and words can impact housing choice. Local fair housing organizations are great resources for up-to-date fair housing information, training classes and materials for your customers and clients.
Fair housing is good business. Your livelihood depends on free and open markets that embrace equal housing opportunities. Discrimination that denies opportunity to one or more demographic groups impedes free markets and can have a negative effect on the school system and the health of your community. It is important to raise and discuss these issues within your local association and seek solutions that build on market strengths and support private property rights and homeownership.
What actions can you take individually and within your brokerage to be a catalyst for change? Be creative in finding solutions, drawing upon resources offered within your real estate franchise, as well as NAR:
- If you see discrimination, challenge it and report it to your local REALTOR® Association or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- Ask yourself, “Which fair housing issues impact my ability to provide real estate services?”
- Engage in community dialogue about the issues tied to housing choices, including schools, healthy communities, residential displacement and economic opportunity.
- Support efforts to get Congress to take action to expand protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
You can also work in collaboration with the local chapters of NAR’s partners and allies in the fair housing mission, including the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the Women’s Council of REALTORS®, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the Asian Real Estate Association of America and the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals.
As a champion for private property rights and homeownership, NAR continues to raise awareness about the importance of equal housing opportunities and advocates for anti-discriminatory policies and practices at the federal level.
For example, NAR is currently spearheading efforts to amend the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
NAR also provides a variety of communication resources, presentation materials, showcase stories and videos that are excellent tools for sparking fair housing discussions within your brokerage or sharing through social media and other communication outlets.
As the REALTOR® community, let’s take ownership of fair housing rights and uphold the promise of the Fair Housing Act. To learn more and access NAR’s extensive collection of fair housing resources, please visit www.FairHousing.realtor.