April 11, 2018 marks 50 years since the Fair Housing Act legislation passed, but for some Americans, the “American Dream” of homeownership remains just that—a dream. Although significant strides in fair housing have been made since the 1968 passage of the Fair Housing Act, there’s still work to do in order to achieve its intended goals.
Even today, minorities are sometimes ushered toward specific neighborhoods. Other groups, such as LGBTQ and veterans, also feel the sting of steering. Ultimately, discriminatory housing practices contribute to racial and economic segregation in communities, which can lead to disparate outcomes in individuals’ overall quality of life—including health, education, and economic opportunity.
We All Have a Role to Play
All Americans deserve the same access to the opportunity of housing. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has evolved in our history, which reflects some of the same issues our country faced. While we acknowledge our role in the past, we recognize our place in the present and our responsibility to drive continued progress. It’s time to bring greater awareness to these critical issues. Fair should mean fair for all Americans. It’s an obligation we are proud of, and remain vigilantly aware of—not just because fair access to housing is part of adhering to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, but because it’s the right thing to do.
Our members make a difference in every interaction they have with clients. Together, we can have a significant impact on policies that create broader change.
Accomplishing this begins with self-awareness. What biases do you have? What assumptions do you make that don’t even feel like discrimination? Even the most well-intentioned real estate professionals can inadvertently assume something about a person’s preferences based on someone’s age, race, sexual orientation, family status, etc. Each of these assumptions, in the strictest sense, potentially violates the Act.
A Yearlong Commemoration
In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, the NAR will join with our partners and allies to raise awareness and create action. These partners include:
- The Women’s Council of REALTORS®
- National Association of Real Estate Brokers
- National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals
- Asian Real Estate Association of America
- National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals
Throughout 2018, you’ll be hearing more about events and initiatives intended to 1) improve our commitment to fair housing and property rights by acknowledging our history and recognizing past champions; 2) commemorate the passage of the Fair Housing Act and actions to realize the promise of the law; and 3) embrace our role in the forefront of advancing fair housing and leading efforts to address community issues.
How Your Brokerage Can Get Involved
The yearlong commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act includes three key components:
- Acknowledge the history
- Recognize the progress made since 1968
- Lead action for continued progress
NAR has compiled numerous resources your brokerage can use to share with your agents and participate in the commemoration, including flyers, print and banner ads, stories and videos. To access these materials, visit the Commemoration Resources tab at www.FairHousing.realtor.
Housing is a critical element of civil rights and fair treatment of all Americans. To learn more about the history of fair housing, what’s next for fair housing, and how NAR and its partner organizations are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, please visit www.FairHousing.realtor. Together, we can spread the word that “Fair Housing Makes U.S. Stronger.”
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