By Ryan Gorman, CEO, Coldwell Banker
At Coldwell Banker, we’re committed to supporting and expanding equal access to housing for all and we stand together to help build thriving, inclusive communities that fuel economic growth and prosperity. We honor this commitment by commemorating Fair Housing Month in April.
The History of Fair Housing
National Fair Housing Month celebrates the passage of the Fair Housing Act, a national law that prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, and gender. The Fair Housing Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in April 1968 after the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and was later amended to include protections for people with disabilities and families with children. By regulation, protection has also been extended to include gender identity and sexual orientation. Additionally, state or local fair housing laws provide for additional protections like source of income including the use of vouchers.
Why National Fair Housing Month is Important
Fair Housing Month is especially significant to those of us who work in the real estate industry. As real estate professionals, our work has a direct impact on the wealth gap of demographic groups and the overall state of fair housing in the communities, neighborhoods, and markets in which we operate.
Every real estate transaction affects the very fabric and composition of every neighborhood, town, and city. Illegal and discriminatory policies and practices from the past and present, such as redlining, continue to contribute to neighborhood segregation, socio-economic inequality, and the marginalization of certain groups and communities.
I made it my mission to learn more about the history of fair housing, housing policy, discrimination, and segregation in our society and in real estate. While our industry has made tremendous progress in the past 50 years, there is still work to do, and as one of the largest residential real estate companies in the world, Coldwell Banker can be a force for good to drive change. This month is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the responsibility we all have to learn more about how we can become allies and advocates in removing barriers to housing opportunity, and to advance inclusive, vibrant communities.
Visit us at ColdwellBanker.com/Diversity to learn how we are making a difference, and how you can, too.
You Can Also Learn More About Fair Housing:
- For a comprehensive look at how housing policy has contributed to continued segregation in America, check out The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein; and, for a more personal account, check out Levittown by David Kushner.
- Ever wonder how building inclusive communities benefits us all? Read these articles: Benefits for All: Why Diverse Communities are the Way Forward, For Everyone, The Economic Impact of Closing the Wealth Gap, and The Macroeconomic Benefits of Racial Integration.
- Want to learn more about the state of fair housing in the U.S. for various demographic markets? Read these recent reports from our industry partners: NAR’s 2022 Snapshot of Race and Home Buying in America, NAREB’s 2021 State of Housing in Black America, and NAHREP’s 2021 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report.
- NAR Members: Looking for a deeper dive into fair housing? Take the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Fairhaven Course. This is a fair housing simulation training for REALTORS® that uses the power of storytelling to help members identify, prevent, and address discriminatory practices in real estate. Please note: This course is free for current NAR members. Additionally, NAR has numerous other resources on Fair Housing that you can check out to learn more.