Time to Focus on Fair Housing Issues

Associations recall a painful past, mark progress since the 1968 passage of the Fair Housing Act

State and local associations are gearing up for a year of commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act by planning events, education, and communications that focus on what housing equality means in their states and local communities.

The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® is dedicating space in each issue of its print publication to fair housing stories, the Illinois Association of REALTORS® created a video to spur conversation on the topic, the Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS® is helping sponsor regional training on fair housing, and the Maryland Association of REALTORS® is launching a “50 Days to the 50th Anniversary” social media campaign with a post each day leading up to April 11, the day 50 years ago, that Congress passed the Fair Housing Act.

Maryland’s social media campaign will include posts that cover the history of fair housing (both national and state), specifics about protected classes, notable successes in overcoming housing discrimination, how to file a discrimination complaint, local organizations and resources, HUD videos, and more, says Laurie Benner, director of housing programs at the association. A gala event at the Reginald F. Lewis African American History Museum in Baltimore, now in the planning stages, says Brenner, will bring together housing and civil rights professionals from across the state.

fair housing issues

Events are also planned at the Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Association of REALTORS®, the New Mexico Association of REALTORS®, and the Charlotte Regional REALTOR® Association, N.C.

In L.A., CEO Chip Ahlswede says his association’s event, scheduled for April, will bring together all of the multicultural real estate associations in his area, including the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals®, the Asian Real Estate Association of America, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers—the oldest minority trade association in America—and the National ­Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals.

Several associations are turning to video storytelling to feature REALTORS® who lived through segregation, blockbusting, and racial steering. The Illinois Association of REALTORS® video features Frank Williams, who fought against housing discrimination in the 1960s and throughout his 45-year career in real estate (pictured here in an NAR fair housing ad).

If you haven’t already planned coverage, there’s still time to join in the commemoration by discussing, posting, sharing, and publishing some of the resources the National Association of REALTORS® has created that support new approaches to fair housing issues and highlight the value that fair housing brings to the industry and your community.

Now, at FairHousing.realtor, find fair housing campaign materials, including flyer and email templates; customizable print and banner ads; articles, videos, and written content. New and refreshed member training materials will emphasize the importance of awareness, understanding, and compliance with the Fair Housing Act.

The NAR campaign will coordinate with multicultural real estate organizations featuring pioneers and leaders throughout our industry. Their activities will be highlighted at the 2018 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings in Washington, D.C., as well as a special event at the Smithsonian National Museum of ­African American History and Culture that week. For more resources and to get involved, visit FairHousing.realtor.

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