- Many brokers wish to go beyond compliance and become leaders for fair housing in their communities
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.