For brokers who wish to go beyond compliance and embrace advocacy, a host of new fair housing groups, experiences, and courses are available.
Real estate agent showing house to clients.

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3 Takeaways:

  • Many brokers wish to go beyond compliance and become leaders for fair housing in their communities
  • A new Facebook group, Deliberately Fair Housing, offers brokers and agents a way to learn about discriminatory housing practices and have tough conversations about segregation in housing.
  • From an immersive online experience to in-person classes, NAR offers brokers and REALTORS® a variety of ways to get educated on and involved in fair housing advocacy.

Broker-owners and managers who want to become more involved in fair housing policy work, or more educated on how issues of discrimination are still prevalent across the housing industry today, have several opportunities available to them.

In a session at the 2021 REALTOR® Broker Summit, the National Association of REALTORS® Vice President of Policy Advocacy Bryan Greene spoke with Lisa Dunn, co-owner of Laurel Real Estate Resources and an industry leader in fair housing advocacy, about four ways brokers can become fair housing leaders.

1. Join the Deliberately Fair Housing Group on Facebook

Deliberately Fair Housing is a Facebook community created by fair housing leaders after the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. Now 1,300 members strong, the group is committed to facilitating monthly Deliberate Discussions, with topics that have included allyship, LGBTQ homeownership access, buying while black, and dispelling the model minority myth in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. They also host a book club which has so far read “Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents” and “Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership.” The group acts as a safe conversation space for fair housing advocates to share their ideas, questions, goals, and successes.

To protect against those who aren’t committed to fair housing initiatives, the group is closed to the public. If interested in joining, request to be a part of the group and answer the pending members' questions. An administrator will then grant access. Some of the previous Deliberate Discussions have also been posted on the group’s YouTube channel.

2. Visit Fairhaven

Dunn recommended that brokers visit Fairhaven, which is an immersive online simulation developed by NAR. In visiting the fictional town of Fairhaven, users will take on the identity of a real estate agent who is racing the clock to close four deals, while also being confronted with different forms of discrimination.

With real examples pulled from real fair housing cases and conversations with NAR members, the simulation is meant to help agents realize that housing discrimination doesn’t only happen at a macro or institutional level—it can also occur within everyday conversations and throughout typical transactions.

3. Attend Implicit Bias Training

Both Dunn and Greene recommend that agents and brokers attend an online workshop developed by Perception Institute in partnership with NAR. The 54-minute video helps viewers understand how their brains are programmed to unconsciously organize information and stereotypes—and the steps that they can take to actively combat these biases and avoid fair housing discrimination.

4. Complete the At Home With Diversity® Course

In this certification course, participants learn how to work with diverse populations and build relationships and business opportunities in an increasingly multicultural society. It's a six-to-seven-hour class that can be taken virtually or in person.

Beyond Facilitation, What Can Brokers Do to Support Their Agents?

When asked by Greene for other takeaways of what brokers can do to take meaningful action on fair housing, Dunn said brokers should consciously celebrate their agents’ involvement in fair housing initiatives. “If you have agents in your brokerage that are participating, support them. Sponsor an event, advertise it, attend virtually if not in person. Because you don’t know how proud an agent feels when they can say, ‘My brokerage is behind me. My brokerage is behind my work.’”

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