The Dream Still Demands…REALTORS®

September 2018

The 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, declining stats in African-American homeownership, gentrification, and creative solutions were top of mind for many of the 10,000 people attending the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 48th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) in Washington, D.C., including REALTORS® and NAR Advocacy staff.

For years, NAR’s Federal Political Coordinators have used ALC as an opportunity to network with their member of Congress, industry professionals, and other small business owners. These REALTORS® are the voice and the face of real estate to our federal lawmakers, and play a pivotal role in REALTOR® Party outreach. They work closely with members of Congress and the Congressional Black Caucus, along with our D.C.-based lobbyists and regulatory staff to advance mutual goals for the African-American community, while informing policy and educating the public. In past years, NAR are has also joined hundreds of other organizations and businesses to sponsor conference activities and events.

“This year, as we recognize the 50th anniversary the Fair Housing Act, the National Association of REALTORS® remains committed to working with groups like the Congressional Black Caucus and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to advance policies that remove barriers to African-American homeownership in the United States. That includes a collaborative partnership, from both the private and public sectors, to ensure the Fair Housing Act is serving its core purpose as intended by Congress,” National Association of REALTORS® President Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation REALTOR® from Columbia, Missouri and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty, said.

“Not only is Fair Housing integral to the ethical commitment of our members, as outlined in the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, it is critical to our ability to serve our customers, clients and the community. REALTORS® look forward to continuing to work to ensure affordable and sustainable housing opportunities are available for Americans in every corner of this country,” Mendenhall continued.

The impact of civil and social movements over the last 50 years has played a major role in changing the trajectory of American history. This year’s ALC theme, “The Dream Still Demands,” focused on the influence and legacy of these moments, while uplifting present-day champions in the fight for racial equality, justice, and freedom in all arenas, including housing.

This year, The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), NAR’s multicultural partner, co-hosted the “50-year Journey: The Fair Housing Act to the Current State of Housing in Black America” session. Moderated by REALTOR® and NAREB president Jeffrey Hick, the two-hour session featured keynote speaker Richard Rothstein, the Economic Policy Institute’s Distinguished Fellow and author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. The brain trust of panelists included:

  • REALTOR® Mark Alston, Chairman of the NAREB’s Public Affairs Committee
  • James H. Carr, Endowed Chair and Professor at Wayne State University
  • Maurice Jourdan-Earl, Managing Director and Co-Founder, ComplianceTech
  • Alanna McCargo, Vice President of Housing Finance Policy, Urban Institute
  • Lisa Rice, President and CEO, National Fair Housing Alliance

Just two years after the Fair Housing Act was passed, African-American homeownership rate was 41.6%. Today, African-American homeownership rate is still 41.6%, the lowest rate among all other racial groups. NAR is committed to working with NAREB, the Urban Institute, and other partners to address barriers to homeownership in the policy arena.

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