April is upon us. This time of year is usually a flurry of spring market activity. It’s also a time when we reflect on the ways people are shut out of the housing market, and commit to expanding housing opportunity, with our annual observation of Fair Housing Month.This year is different. Because of measures to slow the spread of coronavirus, activities outside our homes have slowed or stopped. But crises like these remind us that despite our differences, we are all very much the same. Viruses don’t discriminate. Many of us are in similar circumstances, trying to figure out how to work from home while also homeschooling our kids. Despite these challenges, we’re also finding new ways to strengthen our communities, by getting groceries for an elderly neighbor or buying a gift card to support a local restaurant and its employees.
This quiet time is an opportune one to reflect on how we are all bound together. Coronavirus threatens us all. But the virus will also hit certain members of our communities especially hard. Whether due to losing a job without savings to fall back on, increased unpaid caregiving work, the threat of evictions or foreclosures, xenophobic threats or violence, or difficulty accessing necessary services, communities of color, people with disabilities, and women face even greater burdens now. We must ensure that, as we confront the pandemic, and as we recover, that we all do so together.
As we stay home, REALTORS® can and must rise to the challenge. Fair Housing Month emphasizes education, reflection, and discussion—meaningful efforts we can still undertake while practicing social distancing. This year, NAR is presenting Fair Housing Month @ Home – curated lists of books, videos, podcasts and other resources for you to educate yourself throughout the month. Read, watch, listen, think, discuss – and strengthen your fair housing knowledge and leadership.
WAYS TO OBSERVE FAIR HOUSING MONTH @ HOME
1. Host a Fair Housing Book Club The NAR ebook library has added a number of fair housing titles recommended by NAR’s new Director of Federal Fair Housing Policy, Bryan Greene. Read them on your own or host a book club on Zoom or another social meeting platform. A list of recommended fair housing titles, along with book reviews, videos, and discussion questions, here.
3. Listen to a Fair Housing Podcast Check out Bryan Greene’s list of recommended fair housing podcasts here.
4. Read Fair Housing Journalism Investigative journalists have done incredible work uncovering housing discrimination and explaining the history of segregation in America. Later in April, NAR will add recommended fair housing journalism to the Fair Housing Month @ Home page.
5. Check out Fair Housing nonprofit organizations Learn about local and national Fair Housing nonprofit organizations and the work they do to support equal access to housing. Later this month, NAR will add a list of leading fair housing organizations to the Fair Housing Month @ Home page.
6. Take an online Fair Housing Training Later this month, NAR hopes to make available a practical, real-estate focused online training on how implicit bias may inadvertently influence your interactions with consumers. Using specific examples from a REALTOR’s day, the training will help you avoid thinking traps that can lead to unintentional discrimination.