April is Fair Housing Month and REALTOR® associations across the country will be getting out the word about their commitment to removing barriers to homeownership. This year is particularly special. 2008 marks the 40th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, the landmark law that protects people from discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, disability, familial status and national origin.
In our society, achieving homeownership is the American way of life. And, in my more than 20 years as a REALTOR®, I’ve encouraged my colleagues to understand and promote equal housing laws.
I am proud of NAR’s commitment to fair housing. NAR offers courses, programs and awards aimed at meeting the nation’s fair housing commitment. If you haven’t taken the “At Home with Diversity” course, I encourage you to do so. The course educates REALTORS® about being sensitive to and aggressive in meeting the homeownership needs of diverse society. In April, you can take advantage of a special offer to take the online course for a 50 percent discount. Check out the Equal Opportunity and Cultural Diversity Program web page for more information.
NAR’s sponsorship of the HOPE (Home Ownership Participation for Everyone) Awards is another way REALTORS® promote housing opportunities for all. These awards recognize outstanding projects and programs that increase minority homeownership, revitalize communities and expand affordable housing opportunities.
It’s not too early to encourage individuals, nonprofit and for- profit organizations, and state and local agencies to apply for the HOPE Awards. Applications are now being accepted for recognition at the May 2009 Awards Gala in Washington, D.C.
Reaffirm your commitment to fair housing. Look for opportunities in your community to keep the American Dream of homeownership alive. —Charles McMillan, 2008 President-Elect