Covert and overt prejudices have plagued the housing and real estate industry since the days of redlining and blockbusting. Systemic racism has historically blocked many Americans from owning a home or living where they chose, which is why America collectively celebrates Fair Housing Month: to commemorate the ongoing fight against discrimination in housing.
During Fair Housing Month, real estate agents are uniquely positioned to show their continued support for providing accessible housing opportunities to everyone, regardless of their membership in one of the seven nationally recognized protected classes, or any of the state-recognized ones. We’ve compiled some resources you can access to show you support fair housing this month, and every other month.
Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968—known as the Fair Housing Act (FHA)—became law when it was signed by President Lyndon Johnson on April 11, 1968, which is why we celebrate Fair Housing Month in April. The assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968 provided Johnson with the influence he needed to push the act through the U.S. Congress, which regularly considered the fair housing bill in 1966 and 1967, but hadn’t passed it. King’s name had been closely associated with the fair housing legislation, and Johnson viewed passing the act as a fitting memorial to his life’s work. It was Johnson’s wish to have the act passed before King’s funeral.
What virtual events can you attend?
In addition to educating yourself and displaying your support of Fair Housing Month, here are several online events you can attend in April (some for CE credit).
April 7, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Virtual Celebration live webcast.
April 8, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern – NAR Advocacy Policy Forum Series webinar, “Tipping the SCALE: How Alternative Data Promote or Impede Fair Lending Goals.” NAR will unveil independent research about alternative credit scoring models and minority homeownership.
April 13, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pacific – Fair Housing Fair 2021 Virtual Conference is an annual education conference promoting fair housing and offering fair housing classes. Attendees can earn up to five CE credits and get access to all recorded sessions for two weeks post-event.
April 14, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern – “LGBTQ+: Fostering Understanding and Strengthening Fair Housing for All.” This is a public forum focusing on preventing and combating housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Hear from HUD leadership and national fair housing experts as they discuss how, together, we will all ensure equal access and fair housing for the LGBTQ+ community.
April 15, 2 p.m. Eastern – “The Past, Present, and Future of Fair Housing.” Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge is headline speaker. Soledad O’Brien, an award-winning documentarian, journalist, speaker, author, and philanthropist, will host. The event will stream live on NAR’s Facebook page.
April 23, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern – Annual Fair Housing Community Conference, Restructuring Institutional Reform. The City of Raleigh’s Fair Housing Hearing Board, and the Fair Housing Project of Legal Aid of North Carolina are hosting the 18th Annual Raleigh Fair Housing Conference on April 23, 2021. The confirmed keynote speaker is Lisa Rice, President, and CEO, National Fair Housing Alliance.
April 28 and 29, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific – Diversity and Fair Housing Summit, a two-day virtual summit put on by the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) and intended to “shed light on the cultural and institutional biases that continue to persist in our country.”
What else can you do?
- Download and display the NAR 2021 Fair Housing Poster.
- Read these fair housing book recommendations compiled by NAR’s Vice President of Policy Advocacy, Bryan Greene.
- NAR also created a list of fair housing podcasts, movie and article recommendations for Fair Housing Month.
- Download and display the Fair Housing Declaration.
- Watch the YouTube series “Fair Housing Tips in Less Than a Minute.”
- Watch NAR’s “Bias Override: Overcoming Barrier to Fair Housing.”
- Educate yourself about the Fair Housing Initiatives Program