Our Priorities: Fair Housing

Fair Housing

The goal of The Alliance is to keep you up to date on Fair Housing initiatives and to advocate for continued change in practices and policies until everyone has a fair and equal chance to own a home in America.

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Fair Housing: News & Resources
Fair Housing Month Feature: Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana

The American Property Owners Alliance (The Alliance) is deeply committed to improving fair housing protections to make property ownership accessible for all Americans. We know that a critical step to achieve equity in homeownership is…

Fair Housing Month Feature: Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana

Fair Housing Month Feature: Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana The American Property Owners Alliance (The Alliance) is deeply committed to improving fair housing protections to make property ownership accessible for all Americans. We know that a critical step to achieve equity in homeownership is to support organizations and advocates who are dedicated to protecting fair housing rights and expanding opportunity. Meet Amy Nelson, the Executive Director of Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI), a nonprofit fair housing organization that works to create equal housing opportunities in Central Indiana by eliminating housing discrimination through advocacy, enforcement, education and outreach. The FHCCI was established through a U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development grant awarded to the National Fair Housing Alliance to establish a fair housing agency in central Indiana. FHCCI Executive Director, Amy Nelson explains the impact of where you live on your life, why equitable access to housing is critical, and the role we all play in fighting housing discrimination and creating equal housing opportunities.
Why is equitable access to housing so important?
Amy: We can so often track where we live as the basis for so much in our lives. We see this in formerly redlined neighborhoods having higher rates of asthma and diabetes. How here in my city we have a staggering 17-year life expectancy rate difference simply due to where one lives[1].
“It’s families suffering in substandard housing due to affordability barriers. It’s the growing number of studies showing us that with one’s zip code, researchers can predict if your child will finish high school, what their income will be, or whether they will be incarcerated. It’s children moving from school to school due to their family just being served an eviction, even if no fault of their own, and facing screening barriers. All based on where we live. Housing is critical.”
What are common obstacles and discrimination that people face when trying to rent or buy a home?
Amy: FHCCI specifically investigates allegations of housing discrimination received from the public as well as conducting systemic investigations. Unfortunately, housing discrimination happens far too often. Whether it is a recent client being sexually harassed by their landlord, or a lender refusing to make loans to a black family, or a mom with three kids being told she has too many kids for a two bedroom, or a recent client who had to “White wash” her home to get a fair appraisal for a refinance, housing discrimination is far too commonplace.
How does your organization help individuals and families overcome the barriers to housing access to increase equity in housing?
Amy: We have four main programs working toward our mission: Advocacy, Education, Inclusive Communities, and Public Policy. Through our Advocacy Program, we file enforcement actions to address violations of fair housing law. Our Education Program actively works to share information so everyone understands their rights and responsibilities under fair housing laws. Our Inclusive Communities Program gives back to the community and to those harmed by discriminatory practices. And finally, in our Public Policy Program, we work to advance strong housing laws with particular attention to fighting for those most at risk of housing loss and harm. Just this month, we released a new video through our Education Program, History of Real Estate Sales Discrimination in Indianapolis that we premiered at our annual Fair Housing Conference last week. This is a companion to last year’s History of Redlining video.
What does the future of fair housing look like?
  Amy: Truly achieving fair housing requires the full attention and support of the federal government, the courts, and all of us. Fair housing laws have never had funding or the strength of will to truly address our nation’s history of discriminatory practices that still impact our neighborhoods and our country today. I remain hopeful we can achieve the vision of fair housing laws that allows each person to have equal housing opportunity. We need to demand such of our leaders and keep a focus on housing. Learn more about Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana.
About the American Property Owners Alliance
The American Property Owners Alliance (The Alliance) is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization created to protect and support property owners and pave the way for future property owners. Our mission is to educate property owners about federal issues, laws and policies; to advocate for owners’ rights and interests; and to mobilize, when necessary, to secure those rights and interests.
Sign The American Property Owners Alliance petition to Congress urging them to support property owners and remove barriers to more affordable housing. Click here
  [social_warfare]
Fair Housing Month Feature: NeighborWorks America

The American Property Owners Alliance (The Alliance) is deeply committed to improving fair housing protections to make property ownership accessible for all Americans. We know that a critical step to achieve equity in homeownership is…

Fair Housing Month Feature: NeighborWorks America

Fair Housing Month Feature The American Property Owners Alliance (The Alliance) is deeply committed to improving fair housing protections to make property ownership accessible for all Americans. We know that a critical step to achieve equity in homeownership is to support organizations and advocates who are dedicated to protecting fair housing rights and expanding opportunity. Meet NeighborWorks America, a nonprofit with a network of nearly 250 organizations nationwide[1] that creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives and strengthen their communities. NeighborWorks America’s Senior Vice President Lee Anne Adams explains the common barriers people face in the homebuying process, how the NeighborWorks network helps people access sustainable homeownership, and what the future of fair housing looks like.
Why is equitable access to housing so important?
Lee Anne: Homeownership is a means to build long-term generational wealth. Passing on a home and land from one generation to the next creates a path to family wealth-building. That wealth also provides a means for families to invest in their children’s education or to start a business. Before the passing of the Fair Housing Act in 1968, black families were locked out of the chance to create generational wealth because they were denied mortgage loans and access to certain neighborhoods. Our 2020 Housing and Financial Capability Survey found that only 40% of black people own their home[2]. In reality, the gap between black and white homeownership rates is wider now than it was prior to when race-based discrimination was legal. Homeownership is one of the most impactful ways to help address the racial wealth gap in our nation.
What are common obstacles and discrimination that people face when trying to rent or buy a home?
Lee Anne: Common obstacles people face when trying to rent or buy a home include lack of down payment or first month’s rent, access to affordable credit, lack of affordable supply and lack of knowledge about and/or resources to help with the process. We recommend that potential homebuyers not go it alone. HUD-approved housing counselors are available at NeighborWorks organizations across the country to help people seeking housing stability prepare for buying a home. This includes helping people understand the process, what to expect, how to set financial goals and improve their credit score and how to choose a first mortgage product.
How does your organization help individuals and families overcome the barriers to housing access to increase equity in housing?
Lee Anne: Our network of nearly 250 organizations nationwide helps people access sustainable homeownership by offering a range of services from financial coaching to pre-purchase counseling and homebuyer education to down payment assistance programs and affordable first mortgage products. Our network also owns and manages nearly 180,000 affordable rental homes for individuals and families[3]. We are proud to have partnered with Wells Fargo since 2012 on the Let’s Invest for Tomorrow (LIFT) down payment assistance program, which has provided more than $330 million in down payment assistance and created more than 24,000 homeowners[4], 63% of which are minorities[5]. Over 40% of LIFT participants report that they pay less for housing than they did prior to closing[6]. One borrower’s monthly housing costs decreased from $1,000 per month to about $700 once they became a homeowner.
What does the future of fair housing look like?
Lee Anne: Our industry must remain diligent in our work and exponentially expand opportunities and assistance for people to obtain and sustain affordable housing.
“To overcome the longstanding and growing inequities in our communities, we need to reach common goals and align resources across sectors to make impact.”
A variety of partners need to invest in down payment assistance programs, housing counseling, financial coaching and other services. Additionally, policies and financing that favor affordable single-family and multi-family development is critical. While the challenges are real, the possibilities are numerous. With investment to scale what works and new policy solutions, we can remove barriers and create opportunities for all people to access housing. Learn more about NeighborWorks America.
About the American Property Owners Alliance
The American Property Owners Alliance (The Alliance) is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization created to protect and support property owners and pave the way for future property owners. Our mission is to educate property owners about federal issues, laws and policies; to advocate for owners’ rights and interests; and to mobilize, when necessary, to secure those rights and interests.
Sign The American Property Owners Alliance petition to Congress urging them to support property owners and remove barriers to more affordable housing. Click here
  [social_warfare]
Fair Housing Month Feature: Fair Housing Justice Center

The American Property Owners Alliance (The Alliance) is deeply committed to strong fair housing protections that help make property ownership accessible for all Americans. We know that a critical step to achieve equity in homeownership…

Fair Housing Month Feature: Fair Housing Justice Center

Fair Housing Month Feature: Fair Housing Justice Center The American Property Owners Alliance (The Alliance) is deeply committed to strong fair housing protections that help make property ownership accessible for all Americans. We know that a critical step to achieve equity in homeownership is to support organizations and advocates who are dedicated to protecting fair housing rights and expanding opportunity. Meet Fred Freiberg, the Executive Director of the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC), a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to eliminating housing discrimination, promoting policies that foster inclusive communities, and strengthening enforcement of fair housing laws. The FHJC serves all five boroughs of New York City and seven surrounding New York counties. FHJC Executive Director, Fred Freiberg, explains the overt and subtle housing discrimination that many people face, how FHJC is tackling discrimination head-on, and the role that stakeholders play in eliminating housing discrimination and creating inclusive communities.
Why is equitable access to housing so important?
Fred: Where one lives matters. Whether one has access to employment and educational opportunities, healthy food options, decent healthcare, as well as parks, recreational, and commercial amenities – nearly every aspect of our lives is affected by our zip code. Even one’s life expectancy is impacted by the neighborhood in which one resides. Too often, housing opportunities in well-resourced areas are not equally available to all people because of persistent and pervasive discrimination in the housing market based on race, ethnicity, disability, and other protected characteristics. More than 53 years after the passage of the federal Fair Housing Act, the housing choices of too many people are severely limited to areas with fewer resources and little or no ability to build the generational wealth that was the key to the growth of the white middle class. A recent Brookings Institution study revealed that the net worth of a typical white family is nearly ten times greater than that of a Black family, and much of that disparity is linked to residential segregation and racial discrimination[1]. And sadly, much of the historical discrimination that occurred was at the hands of the organized real estate industry, which – from its very founding – worked hand in hand with government to create and reinforce racial segregation.
What are common obstacles and discrimination that people face when trying to rent or buy a home?
Fred: While the blatant in-your-face discrimination of the past – the “slammed door” – still occurs, it has been replaced today with more polite and courteous behavior often accompanied by a smile, a handshake, and any number of deceptive statements such as “the apartment was just rented,”  “unfortunately there’s a waiting list right now,“ or “I think you would have better luck finding a home in your price range in another area” to name just a few. Consumers should think of it as more of a “revolving door” where people are politely and courteously escorted into, out of, and away from the desired housing. Racial steering and other discriminatory conduct was outlawed by the Fair Housing Act over five decades ago, but as we saw in the 2019 Newsday story – and as we have seen in too many of our own testing investigations since 2005, illegal housing discrimination continues unabated in our metropolitan regions.
“The bottom line is that most victims of racial discrimination in the rental, sale, and financing of housing have no idea that discrimination has occurred because they have no way to compare their treatment against that of a person of a different race or national origin.”
As a result, much of the housing discrimination that occurs today goes unreported, no enforcement action is taken, and the cycle of discrimination and segregation continues. The FHJC recently detailed this reality in a new policy paper, “Ending Racism in Residential Real Estate.”
How does your organization help individuals and families overcome the barriers to housing access to increase equity in housing?
Fred: The FHJC conducts investigations through our testing program to document unlawful housing discrimination. We assist people who file housing discrimination complaints by conducting covert testing investigations and gathering information that may help them meet their burden of proof in an administrative hearing or court of law. But we do not only test in response to complaints. We also conduct proactive systemic testing investigations to identify patterns of housing discrimination that exist in the community. We have successfully challenged illegal housing discrimination in rentals, real estate sales, mortgage lending, assisted living and nursing homes, government housing programs, and other parts of the housing market. Our investigations have led to legal challenges that have opened more than 70,000 housing units to previously excluded populations, recovered more than $50 million in damages and penalties, and changed the way many housing providers and government agencies do business[2].  We also do advocacy work on fair housing policy issues, and we engage in education and outreach to increase public awareness of fair housing rights. The FHJC is the only full-service fair housing organization based in New York City.
What does the future of fair housing look like?
Fred: An honest assessment of our history shows that our segregated housing patterns were the result of a massive, coordinated, intentional, and costly effort by the real estate industry and government over many decades. Undoing the damage will require an equal effort. Five decades after the sponsors of the Fair Housing Act assured Americans that the law was aimed at stopping illegal housing discrimination and replacing our segregated metropolitan regions with “truly integrated and balanced living patterns,” most of the country remains racially segregated and systemic housing discrimination still infects most housing markets. There are some reasons for hope.  The new administration is taking steps to restore regulations and rules that had been dismantled in the last administration.  One would enable enforcement agencies to more easily utilize a legal theory called “disparate impact” to combat subtle forms of discrimination.  Another would empower local and state governments and other recipients of federal funds to more fully implement their duty under the Fair Housing Act to “affirmatively further fair housing.” The Newsday investigation prompted state legislators in New York to propose legislation that would provide ongoing annual funding for systemic testing throughout the State.
“The FHJC has been urging local, state, and federal governments to move away from a purely complaint-responsive enforcement paradigm to one that is more proactive and uses testing to document systemic housing discrimination. The burden of ending housing discrimination should not solely fall on victims of housing discrimination.”
We’re also encouraged that some of the leadership within the real estate industry are coming to terms with their history, working to change the culture of the real estate industry, and encouraging members to take anti-racist positions in their daily real estate practices. Toward that end, FHJC has launched a new social media campaign, “Together We Can End Housing Discrimination,” aimed at enlisting allies in the fight. Unlike most outreach campaigns designed to reach direct victims, the new campaign is directed at people – including those in the real estate industry - who have credible information about discriminatory policies and practices. The agent who knows that a colleague is steering, the broker whose company refuses to do business in certain areas – anyone who’s unsure of what to do about the discrimination they have learned is occurring. Contact the FHJC (anonymously if you prefer) by visiting https://www.fairhousingjustice.org/together-we-can-end-housing-discrimination , and we’ll take it from there. Learn more about Fair Housing Justice Center.
About the American Property Owners Alliance
The American Property Owners Alliance (The Alliance) is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization created to protect and support property owners and pave the way for future property owners. Our mission is to educate property owners about federal issues, laws and policies; to advocate for owners’ rights and interests; and to mobilize, when necessary, to secure those rights and interests.
Sign The American Property Owners Alliance petition to Congress urging them to support property owners and remove barriers to more affordable housing. Click here
  [social_warfare] [1] https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2020/02/27/examining-the-black-white-wealth-gap/ [2] Data provided by Fair Housing Justice Center
Fair Housing Month Feature: NeighborWorks America

The American Property Owners Alliance (The Alliance) is deeply committed to improving fair housing protections to make property ownership accessible for all Americans. We know that a critical step to achieve equity in homeownership is…

Fair Housing Month Feature: NeighborWorks America

Fair Housing Month Feature The American Property Owners Alliance (The Alliance) is deeply committed to improving fair housing protections to make property ownership accessible for all Americans. We know that a critical step to achieve equity in homeownership is to support organizations and advocates who are dedicated to protecting fair housing rights and expanding opportunity. Meet NeighborWorks America, a nonprofit with a network of nearly 250 organizations nationwide[1] that creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives and strengthen their communities. NeighborWorks America’s Senior Vice President Lee Anne Adams explains the common barriers people face in the homebuying process, how the NeighborWorks network helps people access sustainable homeownership, and what the future of fair housing looks like.
Why is equitable access to housing so important?
Lee Anne: Homeownership is a means to build long-term generational wealth. Passing on a home and land from one generation to the next creates a path to family wealth-building. That wealth also provides a means for families to invest in their children’s education or to start a business. Before the passing of the Fair Housing Act in 1968, black families were locked out of the chance to create generational wealth because they were denied mortgage loans and access to certain neighborhoods. Our 2020 Housing and Financial Capability Survey found that only 40% of black people own their home[2]. In reality, the gap between black and white homeownership rates is wider now than it was prior to when race-based discrimination was legal. Homeownership is one of the most impactful ways to help address the racial wealth gap in our nation.
What are common obstacles and discrimination that people face when trying to rent or buy a home?
Lee Anne: Common obstacles people face when trying to rent or buy a home include lack of down payment or first month’s rent, access to affordable credit, lack of affordable supply and lack of knowledge about and/or resources to help with the process. We recommend that potential homebuyers not go it alone. HUD-approved housing counselors are available at NeighborWorks organizations across the country to help people seeking housing stability prepare for buying a home. This includes helping people understand the process, what to expect, how to set financial goals and improve their credit score and how to choose a first mortgage product.
How does your organization help individuals and families overcome the barriers to housing access to increase equity in housing?
Lee Anne: Our network of nearly 250 organizations nationwide helps people access sustainable homeownership by offering a range of services from financial coaching to pre-purchase counseling and homebuyer education to down payment assistance programs and affordable first mortgage products. Our network also owns and manages nearly 180,000 affordable rental homes for individuals and families[3]. We are proud to have partnered with Wells Fargo since 2012 on the Let’s Invest for Tomorrow (LIFT) down payment assistance program, which has provided more than $330 million in down payment assistance and created more than 24,000 homeowners[4], 63% of which are minorities[5]. Over 40% of LIFT participants report that they pay less for housing than they did prior to closing[6]. One borrower’s monthly housing costs decreased from $1,000 per month to about $700 once they became a homeowner.
What does the future of fair housing look like?
Lee Anne: Our industry must remain diligent in our work and exponentially expand opportunities and assistance for people to obtain and sustain affordable housing.
“To overcome the longstanding and growing inequities in our communities, we need to reach common goals and align resources across sectors to make impact.”
A variety of partners need to invest in down payment assistance programs, housing counseling, financial coaching and other services. Additionally, policies and financing that favor affordable single-family and multi-family development is critical. While the challenges are real, the possibilities are numerous. With investment to scale what works and new policy solutions, we can remove barriers and create opportunities for all people to access housing. Learn more about NeighborWorks America.
About the American Property Owners Alliance
The American Property Owners Alliance (The Alliance) is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization created to protect and support property owners and pave the way for future property owners. Our mission is to educate property owners about federal issues, laws and policies; to advocate for owners’ rights and interests; and to mobilize, when necessary, to secure those rights and interests.
Sign The American Property Owners Alliance petition to Congress urging them to support property owners and remove barriers to more affordable housing. Click here
  [social_warfare]
Biden’s housing agenda starts with fair housing initiative

With a Senate split, progress may come down to executive orders and those the administration puts in place to enforce them. One of the first actions President Biden took after being sworn in as the…

Biden’s housing agenda starts with fair housing initiative

With a Senate split, progress may come down to executive orders and those the administration puts in place to enforce them. One of the first actions President Biden took after being sworn in as the 46th President of the United States was to sign an executive order that would undo controversial policies put in place by his predecessor and continue to strengthen the effort to have fair housing in America for all. Biden’s order targeted two policies put in place by President Trump – a rule that governs how cities determine and act upon housing segregation, and a rule that relaxed standards that police discrimination when it comes to mortgage lending and rental housing. Biden called for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to review these orders and to take the steps necessary to get HUD’s policies back in line with those outlined in the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Although that Act has been in place for nearly 53 years, the homeownership rate for Blacks in America is no better in 2021 than they were when that act was created. With homeownership being one of the largest drivers to creating intergenerational wealth, many feel the federal government needs to take on a more active role - rather than leaving this to state and local governments to manage - in order for there to be a real difference. Marcia Fudge, who was expected to be approved by the U.S. Senate as the new HUD Secretary in early March, is going to be busy in her new gig. That’s because Biden’s fair housing agenda is not just about undoing a couple of Trump policies. Biden’s agenda includes eliminating red tape to make housing development easier as well as implementing new policies designed to close the racial gap in homeownership. Biden feels he can accomplish this because of key leaders he has appointed to important roles in the administration that will tackle fair housing head-on. Jenn Jones is the new chief-of-staff at HUD, after serving as the lead for the nonprofit National Community Reinvestment coalition. Prior to that, she served as a senior policy advisor to President Obama’s HUD Secretary Julian Castro where she was a guiding hand in the development of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule that was an Obama executive order. The rest of HUD’s senior staff is a who’s who of researchers who have studied ways to improve equity and fair housing issues. Atop the list is Alanna McCargo who is now the senior advisor on housing finance at HUD after serving as vice president of housing finance policy at the Urban Institute. Ironically, Sasha Samberg-Champion is the deputy general counsel for HUD’s office of general counsel. Samberg-Champion previously sued HUD in 2018 on behalf of the National Fair Housing Alliance and housing groups in Texas for a failure to enforce the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule. He told Bloomberg CityLab in 2020 that “HUD is taking fair housing out of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.” Then there’s Peggy Bailey, who will serve as the senior advisor of rental assistance at HUD who previously was the vice president for housing policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Bloomberg City Lab noted in a January 26 article that the Biden Administration will likely appoint Michael Barr to head up the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), an agency in the Treasury Department that has an impact on fair lending standards. Barr was a Treasury-Department official under President Obama and his first task will be to undo a Trump rule that all but gutted the Community Reinvestment Act requiring banks to fully serve the communities in which they are located. The Community Reinvestment Act could use a facelift though, to accommodate online-only banks and other technological changes that have made lending easier. The hiccup here with Barr as an appointment is that progressives within Biden’s own Democratic Party oppose this appointment because Barr is allegedly too chummy with former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who was deemed to be in Wall Street’s pocket. This is a concern because the OCC has built a bad reputation over the years of being in cahoots with the banks, therefore any link to banks or Wall Street, even if it’s a secondary or tertiary link, is going to be viewed negatively. Barr does have support from some progressives, most notably Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who he also considers a mentor. But, Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown and House Committee on Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters have pushed back against his appointment. These appointments are critical if the Biden Administration really wants to push this housing agenda. With a split Senate, legislation will be tough to pass, meaning that Biden will have to rely on executive orders, such as this one, and having the right people in place to enforce his new rules. This is likely his only path to changing the equity of how the federal government responds to housing issues like fair and affordable housing. [social_warfare]
6 Top Podcasts on Fair Housing

At a time when it’s easy to feel isolated and lonely, podcasts offer a sense of comfort, almost as if we’re listening to a good friend. There are endless topics that experts can chat in…

6 Top Podcasts on Fair Housing

At a time when it’s easy to feel isolated and lonely, podcasts offer a sense of comfort, almost as if we’re listening to a good friend. There are endless topics that experts can chat in our ear about, and that includes topics surrounding homeownership and fair housing. The lack of affordable and fair housing in America has accelerated since the pandemic hit. As an analysis by the NYU Furman Center found, those who are most likely to experience an “economic disruption” (i.e. losing a job or experiencing limited work hours) spent the majority of their income on housing. Even prior to the pandemic, half of renters in the U.S. spent 30 percent of their income on housing and the most impoverished Americans spent over half their income on rent, on average. Whether you’re a homeowner, potential homeowner, or simply interested in learning more about fair housing and how you can help, these 6 podcasts are an excellent place to start. Pop on an episode while tidying the kitchen, brushing your teeth, or taking a long bike ride!

1. The Fair Housing Podcast Questions and Answers

This fairly new podcast from Offit Kurman Attorneys At Law focuses on the slew of convoluted questions and issues that circle the problems akin to fair housing. As they say, “For residents, housing free from unlawful discrimination is a right; for landlords, it’s the law.” Join hosts John Raftery and Revée Walters as they discuss the matter and answer a variety of questions in order to ensure both landlords and property managers are well aware of the fundamentals of fair housing. The perspective from attorneys is a great resource for landlords and managers who want to support fair housing and help their tenants live comfortably and safely. To no surprise, each episode of The Fair Housing Podcast centers around fair housing, but here are two recommended episodes to get started with: Episode 12: Fair Housing Liability This episode highlights accountability issues surrounding fair housing, specifically if you could be sued or not if you violate fair housing as a landlord or property manager. Episode 10: Familial Status This episode focuses on how to not discriminate against families with children.

2. Shop Talk: The Real Estate Show

Shop Talk, brought to us by The CE Shop, has the goal of bettering real estate agents. They interview industry experts, ask the tough questions, and chat about unique real estate related subjects. “Real estate’s a dynamic industry, and we know you have interesting stories to tell about it,” they announce. While Shop Talk has some excellent episodes focusing on anything from 17-year-old real estate agents to haunted houses, this recent episode on fair housing is a great resource for real estate agents specifically: Episode 48: Fair Housing Real estate and equal opportunity for housing are forever intertwined, especially since the Fair Housing Act was enacted in 1968. This episode breaks down the most frequent fair housing violations, how and why those laws are so important, and how real estate agents can provide the best experience to everyone looking for a home.

3. Selling St Pete with Nicole Saunches

Nicole Saunches’ podcast, Selling St Pete, is a one-stop-shop for anything real estate related in and around St. Petersburg, Florida. Nicole offers useful information for both current and potential homeowners, whether you’re on the buying or selling end of the process. Saunches works for Coastal Properties Group International, which has been one of Tampa Bay’s most successful real estate companies since they opened their doors in 2012. In 2019, they sold 145 homes that were over $1 million, so it’s safe to say Nicole’s advice when it comes to real estate is trustworthy. Nicole covers topics ranging from new construction to hurricane preparation. But in one of her most recent episodes, fair housing is the star of the show: Episode 32: Know Your Rights...A discussion about Fair Housing for all In this episode, Nicole Saunches is joined by two members of the Pinellas County Office of Human Rights – Jeffrey Lorick and Paul Valenti. They chat about fair housing from A-Z while reflecting on a recent training with the Pinellas Realtor Organization. The training, which Nicole claims was “one of, if not the best, training I have experienced in my real estate career,” specifically aimed attention on how constant bias can have a huge impact on Fair Housing laws.

4. TenantCloud: Property Management Podcast

TenantCloud is an all-in-one software that assists landlords with all things property management, so they’re clearly pros when it comes to the rental industry. Their podcast covers real estate, investment, DIY tips, news/laws, and likely anything else rental industry connected that comes to mind! With extremely useful information for landlords, such as insight into rental fraud and how the pandemic has shaped the real estate industry, it’s no wonder this podcast has nearly 5 stars. Each episode offers highly relevant advice for those who manage properties, but this episode from March 2020 clues landlords into specifics of the Fair Housing Act: Season 2, Episode 9: What Landlords Are Excluded from the Federal Fair Housing Act? Surprisingly enough, depending on the local, county and state laws, some landlords aren’t required to abide by the Federal Fair Housing Act. In this episode, TenantCloud discusses those specific scenarios and how crucial it is to follow Fair Housing laws, even if you may be absolved.

5. Selling Richmond: The Civic REALTOR®

This bimonthly podcast brought to us by the Richmond Association of REALTORS® follows different leaders in the Richmond area and the big decisions they make that directly affectrealtors and their clients. Host Joh Gehlbach, the Government Affairs Coordinator of Richmond Association of REALTORS®, chats with different directors and leaders of sorts in each episode to explore their recent accords in regard to the real estate industry. All 14 episodes present valuable insight into how so many considerable choices made by people in power have an impact on those around them and their community. This most recent episode is particularly pertinent as it references a recent law: Episode 14: Source of Income in the Virginia Fair Housing Act In this episode, Gehlbach talks with the Director of Fair Housing at Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia (HOME), Alex Guzmán. The two chat about source of income, as it is now a protected class in the Virginia Fair Housing Act as of July 1, 2020. Guzmán shares the relevance of this new law and how it broadens housing opportunities in Virginia.

6. The Holistic Housing Podcast

This podcast is created by NACCED, the National Association for County Community and Economic Development. It focuses on the politics of housing which, of course, highlights affordable and fair housing consistently. Each episode features policymakers and program implementers who are involved in community and economic development, as well as affordable housing. The different high-profile guests on the podcast discuss their experience, goals, and solutions on topics ranging from workforce development to homelessness. The hosts, Sarah and Laura, hope to show their audience how housing affects not only one’s quality of life, but the ability to lead a fruitful life. While this podcast is highly educational, it is also a hoot and the hosts offer some humor to help balance the seriousness of each topic. Much like most of the podcasts on this list, each episode is relevant to fair housing, but this episode from March 12 of this year highlights NLHP, the National Housing Law Project: Alt 137 In this episode, Noelle Porter, NLHP Director of Government Affairs, chats with Sarah and Laura about tenants’ rights. NLHP’s group of legal aid attorneys work every day to fight discrimination and support low-income renters that are facing eviction, which is especially significant now as so many tenants are struggling to pay their bills amidst the pandemic. Whether you’re a homeowner, dreaming of becoming a homeowner or property owner, a renter, a landlord, or just looking for ways to help create fair housing opportunities in your area, these podcasts will educate you while entertaining you. If books aren’t your thing and you’re sick of sitting in front of a screen for hours on end, podcasts offer conversational intellect that will keep you in the know when it comes to fair housing in America. These shows and episodes in particular do an exemplary job of breaking down some hard to digest information, allowing you to easily understand critical knowledge and materials that are necessary to understand whether you’re involved in the real estate industry, or simply curious about these trending topics. Just as you dream of the perfect, comfortable home, others do as well across all walks of life and socioeconomic statuses (SES). Let’s do whatever we can to ensure all citizens receive fair housing and live a comfortable life. [rsnippet id="7" name="Global Article Footer"]
Everything you need to know to file a housing discrimination complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

If you believe you have experienced discrimination in renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, or other housing-related activities because of your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability, you may…

Everything you need to know to file a housing discrimination complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

If you believe you have experienced discrimination in renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, or other housing-related activities because of your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability, you may file a complaint with HUD. HUD will investigate your complaint for free.

Throughout the investigation, HUD will try to help both sides resolve the complaint. If no agreement is reached, and HUD’s investigation leads to a finding that discrimination has likely occurred, it may bring a legal action on your behalf. HUD will seek to address the harm caused by the discrimination, and to prevent future discrimination, by seeking compensation, changes to policies and procedures, and/or training.

Fair housing complaints can be filed against:

  • Property owners, property managers, developers, real estate agents, mortgage lenders, homeowners associations, insurance providers, and others who affect housing opportunities

What to know before filing a complaint?

  • Who can file?
    • Anyone who has been or will be harmed by a discriminatory housing practice may file a complaint.
  • How much does it cost to file a complaint?
    • Filing a complaint through HUD is completely free - both for individuals and community groups
  • Is there a time limit for filing?
    • You must file your complaint within one year of the last date of the alleged violation.
  • Can you get in trouble for filing a complaint?
    • Retaliation is illegal. You cannot be punished for filing a complaint.
  • Are there resources to help you file?
    • HUD provides a toll-free teletypewriter (TTY) line: 1-800-877-8339. You can also ask for other disability-related assistance when you contact HUD. HUD will accept complaints made in any language, and will provide interpreters upon request.

Be prepared to provide:

  • Your name & address
  • The name and address of the person(s) or organization your complaint is against;
  • The address or other identification of the housing or program involved;
  • A short description of the event(s) that cause you to believe your rights were violated; and
  • The date(s) of the alleged violation.

4 Ways to submit a complaint:

  1. Online Portal
    • You can fill out a form directly on HUD’s website (English or Spanish)
  2. Email
  3. Phone
  4. Mail
    • If utilizing email, phone, or mail, HUD recommends you direct the complaint to one of HUD’s regional offices utilizing this form.
Take Advantage of These Free Online Seminars and Videos for Fair Housing Month

As we welcome Spring this April we also welcome Fair Housing Month. After such a tumultuous 2020, it’s a particularly important time to focus on this matter and put great efforts into providing equal and…

Take Advantage of These Free Online Seminars and Videos for Fair Housing Month

As we welcome Spring this April we also welcome Fair Housing Month. After such a tumultuous 2020, it’s a particularly important time to focus on this matter and put great efforts into providing equal and fair housing for everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the firsthand connection between health and housing when many officials refused to view these as human rights, despite the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Millions of Americans lived in fear of losing their homes during these unforeseen hardships, and many did. Household Pulse reports that millions of residents still owe large housing payments – approximately 12.1 million adult renters as of mid-March. It’s apparent now more than ever that the country’s social safety net programs offer incompetent security. Whether you’re a renter, landlord, investor, or simply hoping to educate yourself on the matter, there are a plethora of free seminars, workshops, Q+As, and films focusing on fair housing that you can take advantage of this month. 1. Jim Crow of the North Film and Panel Discussion / Thursday, April 22, 2021, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM EDT Jim Crow of the North is a compelling Twin Cities PBS documentary that examines the history of redlining in Minneapolis and systematic racism both then and today. The film shows how segregation has and continues, to construct cities. In honor of Fair Housing Month, High Plains Fair Housing Center (FHC) will be hosting an online watch party and leading a discussion panel. Experts will talk about the film and engage on housing discrimination over the years and what it looks like today. They will also be discussing how others can help to put an end to housing discrimination and different ways to get involved, particularly in North Dakota, where High Plains FHC is based. The center is a non-profit organization working tirelessly to defeat housing discrimination. For those who can’t make the watch party, you can watch the film here and still catch the discussion at 9:30 PM on April 22nd. 2. Know Your Rights! Fair Housing & Tenant Skills Webinar / Monday, April 26, 2021, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EDT Springfield Town Library of Vermont is hosting this workshop on fair housing, specifically in the state of Vermont but they will be discussing the fundamentals of tenant rights that apply to renters all over the country. Wendy Rowe and Corrine Yonce of Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO) will be taking the lead in this conversation, who specializes in housing advocacy programs. CVOEO works to bring issues of economic, social, and racial justice to light and help members of the community attain financial autonomy. This webinar will fill you in on the A-Zs of your rights as a tenant. From security deposits to the account of the Fair Housing Act, this workshop will cover it all and welcomes questions. Start your week off with this informative webinar on Monday, the 26th at 11 AM. 3. Fair Housing Friday: Going Forward / Friday, April 30, 2021, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT This is another great webinar from High Plains FHC in North Dakota with a different approach. In this discussion, the team at High Plains FHC will reflect on the past year as a whole and what impactful changes have been made. Specifically, they will take a look at how Bostock v. Clayton County finally labeled LGBTQ+ housing discrimination under sex discrimination. They will be discussing other recent White House developments on the matter as well, such as President Biden’s memorandum on housing discrimination. This discussion will allow for impressions, criticisms, and most importantly, plotting what we can do moving forward to ensure every individual is receiving fair housing. Chime in on Friday, the 30th at noon. 4. Housing Segregation and Redlining in America: A Short History / 6 ½-minute video This short video is an excellent refresher on the Fair Housing Act that’s easy to watch and understand. Code Switch, an NPR collective and podcast focusing on race, ethnicity, and culture, put this video together to express an important message – “Housing segregation is in everything.” Folks cheered to the end of housing discrimination when the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1968, as the act made it illegal to do so. Although, this law certainly hasn’t stopped discrimination. Code Switch co-host Gene Demby uses this platform to point out why we still see so much segregation within housing and neighborhoods today. Demby elaborates on the impact government actions have had on communities. 5. America Divided: A House Divided / 44-minute video America Divided is a documentary series that explores the inequality crisis by revealing America’s systemic issues. With exceptional production and noteworthy guests, their raw approach will offer powerful and motivational perspectives. This episode follows Norman Lear, co-producer alongside Common and Shonda Rhimes, as he focuses on housing in NYC. Lear delves into the crisis of the unhoused community in the metropolis. Over the course of the episode, he chats with New Yorkers regarding housing to better understand the situation and examine the city’s affordability crisis. "This is our America. And it isn’t what we promised," Lear solemnly claims. 6. Seven Days / 9-minute video This short film was released in 2018 by Nationwide, in partnership with the National Fair Housing Alliance, and recounts the seven days between Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and the signing of the Fair Housing Act. When President Johnson announced that MLK Jr. was shot, a nationwide upheaval broke out. Johnson clambered to keep the country together and accelerate the fair housing bill, which he managed to do in just seven days. This 9-minute video does an excellent job narrating that week in 1968 and illustrating the gravity of the Civil Rights Act. President Johnson quotes in the documentary, “Few in the nation believed that fair housing would, in our time, become the unchallenged law of this land. And indeed this bill has had a long and stormy trip.” Johnson remarks on the struggles of passing this bill in 1968, and now, 53 years later, Americans are still fighting for equal rights. 7. The Basics of the Fair Housing Act / 90-minute video Lastly, for those who are somewhat unfamiliar with the Fair Housing Act, or the Civil Rights Act of 1968, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers this in-depth video that was actually created as a training program, so you know all details will be covered. While this is an extensive training video, it was created for both housing providers and anyone interested in educating themselves and learning more about the Fair Housing Act. The video includes all of the basics of the Fair Housing Act with a comprehensive commentary. When introducing the video, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Anna Maria Farias, goes on to say, “But more importantly, today's training will help you gain a clearer understanding of the continued relevance of this landmarked law.” HUD is committed to spreading this information far and wide while continuing to work incessantly to stop discrimination. “Discrimination still exists. Each year, HUD and our many fair housing partners receive thousands of complaints from individuals and families alleging that their rights were violated, so our work isn’t done,” she continues. Regardless of your living situation, taking advantage of these free resources during Fair Housing Month will benefit you, your community, and anyone you encounter down the road. As Farias says, “Housing discrimination is not only wrong, it’s illegal, and in a country founded on the principles of justice and equality, housing discrimination is unacceptable.” [rsnippet id="7" name="Global Article Footer"]
Housing gap between white and black homeowners still isn’t closing

Historically low mortgage rates made it so that the housing market was able to stay strong during the pandemic. Prices are high, homes are selling quickly. Things are moving along like clockwork. But not for…

Housing gap between white and black homeowners still isn’t closing

Historically low mortgage rates made it so that the housing market was able to stay strong during the pandemic. Prices are high, homes are selling quickly. Things are moving along like clockwork. But not for everybody. It has been 53 years since the Fair Housing Act passed through Congress, and yet, the gap between white homeownership and Black homeownership is still just as wide. This is according to data provided by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) as part of their second annual report that examined racial gaps in homeownership, both nationwide and state-to-state. According to the Federal Reserve, the net worth of a homeowner was $255,000, which is 40 times that of a renter. If you combine that with the NAR data that in the last decade, Black Americans have seen the largest dip in home ownership rates, this paints a stark picture. As the wealth gains of homeowners increase, the number of Blacks owning homes has decreased. It doesn’t help that financial institutions are denying mortgages to Black prospective home buyers 2 ½ times more than prospective white buyers, according to NAR. Blacks also are more likely to have student loan debt, which impacts the ability to save enough money for a down payment. With the rise in home prices, coupled with it becoming harder and harder for lower- and middle-income earners to be able to come up with that down payment, more potential buyers are being priced out of the market. And because of the wealth gap in America, potential Black homebuyers are making up a significant portion of the cohort who struggle to afford a home. It is a vicious cycle that has been rotating for more than five decades now. “We need to find solutions for everyone to have the same opportunities for home ownership,” Nadia Evangelou, senior economist and director of forecasting at NAR and one of the authors of the report told the Philadelphia Inquirer, recently. The Biden administration is pushing for a tax credit of up to $15,0000 for first-time homebuyers to try and help make homes more affordable, but NAR also wants to push Congress to consider incentives for builders and developers to create more affordable housing units and increase the supply of homes available that is at critical lows nationwide. In 2019, the white homeownership rate nationally was nearly 70%. South Carolina, Mississippi and Delaware had the highest rate of white home ownership at 78% each. But even in states where the white homeownership was the lowest, the rate was still approximately 50%. There was a stark difference for Black homeownership where, as nationally, the rate was just 42% in 2019. The highest rate of Black homeownership was in Puerto Rico (70%), indicating that decades old redlining of neighborhoods still impacts the 50 U.S. states, making it harder for Blacks to purchase homes outside of lower-income neighborhoods. Maryland (52%) and South Carolina (52%) were the only states to cross the 50% plateau for black homeownership. And the states with the lowest rates of Black home ownership were North Dakota (5%), Wyoming (18%) and Montana (20%) The national median price of existing homes was $309,800, a 40% increase from 2015, and while that number has gone up nationally, just 43% of Black Americans can afford to buy a home, compared to 63% of white Americans. According to NAR, whites bought 81% of all homes purchased in 2019; Blacks bought just 7%. And while other ethnic groups have also struggled at times to purchase homes, NAR found that during the pandemic, as mortgage rates plummeted, slightly more Asian, Latino, Hispanic and Pacific Islander buyers purchased homes than prior to the pandemic. However, the share of Black homebuyers remained stagnant, even with the historically low mortgage interest rates. "This data reinforces the need to implement key policy initiatives NAR developed in concert with the Urban Institute and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers to address the Black homeownership gap," NAR President Charlie Oppler, a REALTOR® from Franklin Lakes, N.J., and the CEO of Prominent Properties Sotheby's International said in a press release. "Specifically, this five-point plan developed in 2019 calls on the nation to: advance policy solutions at the local level; tackle housing supply constraints and affordability; promote an equitable and accessible housing finance system; provide further outreach and counseling initiatives for renters and mortgage-ready millennials; and focus on sustainable homeownership and preservation initiatives." NAR used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to study homeownership and affordability by race. The REALTORS® also conducted a survey of 8,200 homebuyers from July 2019 through June 2020. [rsnippet id="7" name="Global Article Footer"]
Housing advocates want equity provisions in Biden’s proposed infrastructure bill

Witnesses urged senators to bake provisions to ensure equity into President Joe Biden’s proposed infrastructure package or they would risk repeating a history of public investments that locked African Americans and minorities out of buying…

Housing advocates want equity provisions in Biden’s proposed infrastructure bill

Witnesses urged senators to bake provisions to ensure equity into President Joe Biden’s proposed infrastructure package or they would risk repeating a history of public investments that locked African Americans and minorities out of buying homes and building wealth.

Federal policies, including provisions of the New Deal and a 1950s law to expand and build highways, worsened segregation and drove divestment from Black and minority communities, witnesses said Tuesday during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on racial discrimination in housing.

Senate Banking Chairman Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, asked witnesses how to fairly implement future infrastructure packages, such as the one Biden introduced last month. Biden’s proposal includes $213 billion to build and rehabilitate affordable housing units.

Past infrastructure investments, including the creation of the Federal Housing Administration and construction of the federal highway system, created jobs and drove economic growth, but only for some communities, Brown said.



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Biden restores fair housing rules Trump gutted

Although the month of April is annually observed as Fair Housing Month, the reality for Black America and other people of color is that housing has not significantly changed since the 1968 federal enactment of…

Biden restores fair housing rules Trump gutted

Although the month of April is annually observed as Fair Housing Month, the reality for Black America and other people of color is that housing has not significantly changed since the 1968 federal enactment of the Fair Housing Act. Its enactment came seven days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who had strongly advocated fair and open housing.

But 53 years after an historic enactment, race and place remain the determining factors of who is allowed the opportunity to build wealth, as well as to share wealth’s financial advantages across family generations.

What makes this year’s observance more hopeful are renewed efforts by both President Biden and Congress to correct decades’ long denials of full access to the American Dream.

For the first time in more than four years, the nation’s President committed his Administration to the active pursuit of fair housing. Beginning with a memorandum coinciding with his inauguration on January 26th, President Biden directed the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to “as soon as practicable, take all steps necessary to examine the effects of” the Trump Administration’s 2020 repeal of two key housing rules issued by the Obama Administration: the 2013 Disparate Impact Standard and the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.



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Two Keys To A 2021 Refresh: Bringing Fair Housing Into The 21st Century

This April marks the 53rd anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (also known as the Fair Housing Act), which “prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion,…

Two Keys To A 2021 Refresh: Bringing Fair Housing Into The 21st Century

This April marks the 53rd anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (also known as the Fair Housing Act), which “prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, [and] sex.” Brave individuals fought for something we often take for granted, like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose assassination was a catalyst for the final passage of the act, and Senator Walter Mondale, the future Democratic Party’s presidential nominee who championed fair housing for years.

But perhaps a name you haven’t heard of is Senator Edward Brooke. Ed Brooke, the first African American popularly elected to the U.S. Senate, co-authored the amendment that would prohibit housing discrimination. Senator Brooke worked across the political divide with leaders like Senator Mondale to enact the Fair Housing Act as law.

I’ve recently wondered how these heroes of American history would view the state of “fair housing” today. Studies show that while overt discrimination has dropped over the decades, less obvious forms of discrimination persist. People of color, for instance, are shown significantly fewer, and less appealing, rental properties in blind studies. According to the Urban Institute, Black and Hispanic renters are shown 11.4% and 12.5% fewer rental units, respectively, than white renters. Housing has ramifications in other related aspects of life such as health, education and job security. For example, communities of color often grapple with poverty and subpar schools.

I believe that there are two ideas that a new generation of real estate leaders can pioneer to help build on the fair housing platform that Senator Brooke and others began.



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Supporting Fair Housing, Inclusivity in Your Community

Home and property ownership is a nearly universal part of the American dream. An unfortunate reality of our nation’s past and present, however, is that this dream has been much more difficult to achieve among…

Supporting Fair Housing, Inclusivity in Your Community

Home and property ownership is a nearly universal part of the American dream. An unfortunate reality of our nation’s past and present, however, is that this dream has been much more difficult to achieve among minority groups.

April marks the 53rd anniversary of the passage of the landmark 1968 Fair Housing Act, the federal law that protects Americans against housing and property ownership discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability. But despite all the progress this nation has made over recent decades, people searching for a home today face many of the same challenges they did 53 years ago. Home and property ownership rates for Black Americans are nearly 30 percentage points lower than that of white Americans, and after decades of gain, the Black homeownership rate has now fallen back to where it was a half-century ago.

“During this time, we honor the sacrifices and tenacity shown by so many during the fight to expand equal access to housing and property in America,” said National Association of Realtors® President Charlie Oppler. “As the largest trade association in the world, NAR has a powerful voice, and we will continue to use that voice to champion efforts to build more inclusive communities throughout our nation.”



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