Median housing prices in Tennessee have increased over 22%, and newcomers are coming to the state in droves, so the values of fair housing and equal opportunity housing are more important than ever. To elevate and amplify conversations and advocacy promoting these principles, the leadership of Tennessee REALTORS® spearheaded an effort to have the state legislature pass a resolution making April Fair Housing Month at the state level.
In a year when their state’s median housing prices have increased over 22%, and its population is booming with newcomers, Tennessee REALTORS® recognize all too clearly that their focus on fair housing and equal opportunity housing must keep pace to protect and empower the most vulnerable in the housing market. To that end, the association worked with allies and leaders in the state legislature to have April declared Fair Housing Month at the state level. The Tennessee REALTORS® Fair Housing Month Resolution was passed on April 21, 2022, a proud statement that the REALTORS® intend to renew annually.
Travis Close, Tennessee REALTORS®’ 2022 President, states, “As REALTORS®, fair housing is a topic we advocate for year-round because this is a reality we see and work with on a daily basis. Having the statewide spotlight in April helps us showcase the importance and value of fair housing to Tennesseans and state lawmakers who may not see its true impact up close and often, as we do.”
Tennessee REALTORS® CEO Angela Shields concurs. She notes that, “This resolution brings attention to the fact that housing is a human right for all. With Tennessee’s population growing at record pace plus a national housing shortage, we wanted to shine some light on the need for housing for every Tennessean. This is a great way to renew the attention of state leadership on the need for basic security, like housing.”
In recent years, as demographic disparities in opportunity and treatment in the housing industry have come to light, the National Association of REALTORS® has taken a leadership stance in keeping the fifty-four-year-old Fair Housing Act front-and-center in the industry’s consciousness; earlier this year, it released a Fair Housing Toolkit to guide members and associations toward best practices and renewed awareness. One of the actions it highlights is seeking official recognition of Fair Housing Month from local governments, to assert the principles of fairness and equity close to home.
In Tennessee, REALTORS® are fortunate to have a REALTOR® Champion in State Representative Bob Freeman, who represents District 56, south of Nashville. He graciously responded to the overtures of Tennessee REALTORS®, drafting the language of the resolution and presenting it on the floor of the 112th General Assembly of the state’s House of Representatives. It refers, in part, to the work of REALTORS® endeavoring “to establish inclusive communities committed to fair housing and promote appropriate activities by private and public entities intended to provide or advocate for equal housing opportunities for all residents and prospective residents of Tennessee.”
A leadership delegation from Tennessee REALTORS® was present for the occasion: together, President Close, Ms. Shields, President-Elect Sher Powers, and First Vice President Regina Hubbard attended the session and received the signed resolution from Representative Freeman. Moving forward, their hope is that this high-profile statement amplifies awareness and ongoing activity promoting fair housing in the real estate industry, and in communities throughout Tennessee.
To learn more about how Tennessee REALTORS® are taking steps to make fair housing a reality in The Volunteer State, contact Communications Director Sally Whitson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615.696.6847. To learn more about the National Association of REALTORS®’ efforts to further fair housing across the nation, visit www.nar.realtor/fair-housing.