In This Issue…
COVID-19 Advocacy FAQ
NAR’s Federal Advocacy team has been working closely with Congress and the Administration to ensure the interests of REALTORS® and their clients are protected in any federal action in response to COVID-19, in addition to minimizing transaction disruptions during these very difficult circumstances. As the actions out of Washington evolve daily, below are a number of Q&As to address the ongoing fixes being proposed and implemented in response to the pandemic. Congress has passed an $8 billion stimulus package providing emergency funding to fight COVID-19 — the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) — and is currently working on a third stimulus package — the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). More legislative packages targeted at specific industries are expected after the third phase. We will update this document as events warrant. NAR is also providing Coronavirus resources for property owners.
Legislative Session Changes
Given the COVID-19 response nationwide, there are constant changes to state legislative session and local government calendars. NAR is seeking your assistance in the form of crowdsourcing information, so let us know of any legislative session changes by clicking here. If you have questions or feedback on proposed state or local policy in response to COVID-19, contact Melissa Horn, State and Local Policy Representative, at email@example.com.
Community Outreach Grant Extension Process
As you may know, state and local associations receiving approval for a Housing Opportunity, Smart Growth, Placemaking or Fair Housing grant must use the award within one year or be forfeited back to NAR. If your association is participating in an activity supported by a grant that has been rescheduled due to COVID-19 that impacts your ability to meet the one-year deadline, please contact Christine Windle at 202-383-1135 for an extension. Extended Community Outreach grants activity must be completed by October 31, 2020.
March 27: Virtual Communication in the Age of Social Distancing Webinar
Join us for a “Virtual Communication in the Age of Social Distancing” webinar (A 2020 Joint AE Institute Virtual Session) on Friday, March 27 at 12:00 p.m. ET. Associations, like the much of the world, are quickly realizing that in order to carry on “business as usual,” they need to adopt new tools and resources to communicate differently. Hear from NAR and your peers on how they are moving forward to communicate virtually with membership, committees, course attendees, etc. through various online platforms. Find out which platform best fits YOUR needs! One-hour webinar including Q&A. Register Today.
2020 Census Toolkit Now Available
The 2020 Census is now available for households to complete online at 2020census.gov, by phone, or by mail. The 2020 census is important, because the data collected helps the federal government, state and local governments better understand communities across the country. The data is also used to help for emergency preparedness and response, such as the COVID-19 pandemic that we are currently facing. Census data is also used to ensure federal funding for roads, hospitals, schools, libraries, and more. Additionally, housing data and information is also collected so that NAR and the real estate industry can better understand housing needs, demands, and trends. Check out the Census Toolkit for resources to promote the Census to your members and use the hashtag #RealtorsCount. To learn more about NAR’s partnership and to find resources, visit nar.realtor/census.
Celebrating Fair Housing Month @ Home, Toolkit
Each April, REALTORS® observe the anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act with events featuring speakers, training, and fellowship as we educate ourselves about the past and recommit to expanding equal housing opportunity in the future. This year, as public events shut down to slow the spread of coronavirus, we find ourselves in uncharted territory. NAR and our state and local associations are stepping up in these unprecedented circumstances to provide members with information and tools to bring Fair Housing Month home while we practice social distancing.
In the coming week, NAR will roll out a Fair Housing Month toolkit tailored to observe the occasion from home. The toolkit, which will be made available on Realtor Party, will include:
- A message you can send to members, customizing with your association’s recommended Fair Housing Month @ Home activity
- A list of recommended Fair Housing Month activities and resources you can sponsor for members to access from home, including book, movie and podcast recommendations, websites and articles to peruse, and options for online training
- A Fair Housing Month declaration for your local elected body
- 2020 Fair Housing Month Poster
- 2020 Fair Housing Month Letterhead, PowerPoint Template, Digital Banners and Social Icons
- Fair Housing Facts that you can promote on social media throughout April
Fair Housing grants are available to host online events or fund other Fair Housing Month @ Home activities. If you need more information, application deadlines and/or clarification about whether the event meets grant criteria, contact Hugh Morris. We are moving quickly to adapt to these changed circumstances. Please reach out to Bryan Greene with any questions as we work to get these resources live.
Advocacy Territorial Jurisdiction Maps – Counties Now Available
The Advocacy Territorial Jurisdiction Map shows the local association territorial boundaries for all of the local associations in the country by state. The association boundaries are visible by U.S. Congressional District, state house and state senate districts. We have now added counties to this list so that local associations can view their boundaries based on county. If you have questions, please contact Gerry Allen at 202-383-1109.
Independent Expenditure & Issues Mobilization Programs Continue
While government operations at all levels are in a state of flux at the moment, state and local legislative activity will resume at some point. Elections are still happening this year despite having been postponed. If you have REALTOR® Champions you’d like to support for state or local office, please contact Mitchell Norton to discuss a possible independent expenditure campaign.
The Issues Mobilization Program continues to operate and is available to help you prepare for upcoming legislative activity and ballot measures. For any assistance you anticipate in the second half of 2020, now is a good time to connect with us. The earlier you reach out, the better able we are to provide the assistance that you need. For more information, contact Joe Maheady at 202-383-1006 or John Winston at 202-383-1235.
FPC Quarterly Field Reports Due Next Week
The 1st quarter of 2020 is coming to a close as is the deadline for FPC field reports. There are just 5 days left until the end of the quarter. Please help ensure your FPCs are 100% on their field reports. A big round of applause to those states that are already 100%. If you are not sure whether your state is 100%, you can check the FPC field report tracker to see which of your FPCs are outstanding. A step-by-step process for generating these reports is available online.
REALTOR® Party Leaders Available for Virtual Meetings & Events
Beginning April 1, the 2020 REALTOR® Party Travel Team are available to “dial in” and speak to your group if your association is hosting a virtual meeting or event. Offerings are quick, 5- to 10-minute issue overviews on topics such as GOTV (Get Out the Vote), Voter Registration, Fair Housing activities, Community Outreach programs, and other REALTOR® Party programs and services. To schedule, please contact Vanessa Lopez at 202-383-7509.
Engage Consumers in Your Community
The Consumer Advocacy Outreach grant offers your association the ability to apply for money up to $35,000 to engage with a powerful collective of consumers in your community and advocate for public policy issues that impact homeownership and property rights. Apply now or contact Erin Murphy at 202-383-1079.
Can’t Hold Your Event In-Person? Use a Community Outreach Grant to Host it Online
Leverage a Housing Opportunity, Smart Growth and/or Fair Housing grant to position your association as a leader by hosting an online event addressing affordable housing challenges, community planning and development issues, revitalization opportunities and fair housing education. Need help brainstorming an idea for a grant? Sign-up for a virtual one-on-one consultation session with staff. If you need more information, application deadlines and/or clarification about whether the event meets grant criteria, contact Wendy Penn for Housing Opportunity or Hugh Morris for Smart Growth and Fair Housing.
NAR Helps Associations Address Abandonment and Blight
Local associations may apply for the opportunity to hold either a place-based training or receive a technical assessment to identify ways to tackle vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties. NAR will provide planning assistance and cover part of the program costs. Complete the interest form by May 1, to be considered. If you have questions, contact Wendy Penn at 202-383-7504.
New Walkable Communities Resources
Walkable communities are becoming the latest trend in real estate and REALTORS® need to be aware of how the demand for walkable communities impacts real estate and their business. We have developed three new resources to update REALTOR® associations, and REALTORS®, to help them advocate to make their communities more walkable. Take a look at Walkable Community Overview for REALTORS®, Advocating for a More Walkable Communities, and Walkable Community Workshop How-to Guide. For more information, contact Holly Moskerintz at 202-383-1157.
New Resource for Revitalizing a Downtown
The Main Street® Downtown Assessment How-To Guide will help you to organize and conduct an on-site analysis of the challenges, issues and opportunities in a community to initiate the revitalization of its downtown or commercial district. The Smart Growth Action Grant can help fund this Assessment. And see how a REALTOR® association engaged in a Main Street Downtown Assessment to turn their downtown around and how another one got media coverage for their assessment. For more information, contact Holly Moskerintz at 202-383-1157.
May 31: 2020 President’s Circle Deadline
The deadline for President’s Circle members to invest their first $500 is May 31, 2020. For more information regarding President’s Circle, contact Avery Walker (202-383-1268).
April 7, RPAC Webinar: RPAC Online Posting Training
Did you know that RPAC-related information on social media and websites is subject to both federal and state election laws? Liz Demorest, RPAC Fundraising Manager, will review how to apply PAC fundraising laws to social media posts and website content. This interactive webinar will be held on Tuesday, April 7 at 3pm EST. Register now! For more information, contact Liz Demorest at 202-383-1061.
RPAC Fundraising Goals
State and local associations have inquired about modifications to the President’s Cup and/or Triple Crown goals due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given this unprecedented state of affairs, NAR’s RPAC and Advocacy staff and leadership are monitoring the situation closely. At this time, we have not made any decision on whether to amend the 2020 goals but we will continue to consult with our RPAC and RPMIC leadership in the coming weeks and update everyone appropriately. For goal-related questions, please contact Lauren Colicelli at 202-383-1080.
RPAC Fundraising Guidance
RPAC fundraising staff and leadership recommend you follow CDC and relevant state/local guidance regarding postponing in-person events. If you are interested in fundraising options other than large in-person events, please check out our resources for online fundraising campaigns and phone banks. We encourage email campaigns with an educational focus and/or “soft” asks for now. You may also consider online auctions or raffles, where allowed by state/local law. For questions please contact Lauren Colicelli at 202-383-1080.
RPAC Fundraising Grant & Major Investor Event Program Update
If your association is postponing or canceling an RPAC fundraiser or Major Investor event that’s already approved using NAR programs, please let RPAC staff know as soon as possible. We only need the new date if an event will take place later in 2020. If a substantial change is being made, please reach out. A new application is needed if your event is postponed until 2021. For questions on the Fundraising Partnership Grant, please contact Liz Best-Bradford at 202-383-7582. For questions on the Major Investor Event Program, please contact Jackie Zaporowski at 202-383-1029.
|★||Which States have Large Fraction of Industries Affected by Coronavirus?
While measures are being taken to keep people safe and avoid overloading the hospital system beyond capacity, they have an economic cost in terms of lost revenues, especially in states where these industries comprise a larger share of their economic output and employment should there be some temporary layoffs. States need to plan to mitigate these economic impacts.
|★||Homebuyer Traffic Picked Up in February 2020 Amid Low Mortgage Rates, With Little Effect Yet from Coronavirus and Stock Market Decline
Home showings data from SentriLock®, LLC, a lockbox company, shows that homebuyer traffic increased in February 2020 compared to the prior month and one year ago.
|★||Existing-Home Sales Housing Snapshot (Infographic)
February 2020 brought 5.77 million in sales, a median sales price of $270,100, and 3.1 months of inventory. The median sales price is up 8.0% year over year, and inventory is down 0.5 months from February 2019.
|★||February 2020 Existing-Home Sales
Housing market activity this February jumped 6.5% from January 2020, and sales of existing homes improved 7.2 % from February 2019.
|★||Using Vacant Malls as Coronavirus Health Care Emergency Armories
Shopping centers, both fully vacant and partially vacant, have close proximity to people, and their large footage can handle large cases as mobile hospital units, emergency mask production, storage of basic goods, etc.
For more information on NAR’s Economic Outlook, contact Meredith Dunn at 202-383-1207.
Message from the GAD Chair
My fellow GADs –
It seems as though we’ve lived a lifetime in a matter of days. When last we spoke, we were coming up on Super Tuesday, excited for the prospects of a 2020 presidential election year. Today, the entire world has changed. Most of us have likely spent the last few days (or even weeks) grappling with whether your members will be physically able or legally allowed to continue working. We are coming to terms with working from home, figuring out the best lighting for Zoom conference calls, and in general trying to keep countless burning fires under control.
While all of this seemed previously unthinkable, take comfort in knowing that this is what GADs were made for. You’ve been trained in, and have a great instinct for, crisis mitigation. You are quick-thinking, fast-acting problem solvers. Though all the world seems upended, I have no doubt you will stretch your arms and minds around it to take control, for the betterment of your members and your communities.
Along with the team at NAR, Kelli and I have been working to determine how best to streamline communications and provide you with a central point for information as you work through the nuances of the Coronavirus pandemic. To that end, we will hold an All GAD meeting this afternoon, which we hope provides you some professional comfort and connection during a time when we’ve been necessarily isolated. We are also working to provide you with consistent and frequent updates on any relevant information as we learn it.
A few tips: first, keep at it. So many of you have had huge successes in the past week, and because you’ve had to move on to the next crisis, you don’t get the time to celebrate those successes, but they happened! Don’t forget how far you’ve come. Second, reach out. Keep talking to each other. If you’re part of the GAD mentorship program, please check in with your partner to see what they need. Third, take care of yourself and your family. Don’t forget to eat or drink water. Get a few minutes outside.
Never have I been so grateful for the non-stop GAD network, that has constantly and repeatedly shared valuable information, resources, and advice to any fellow GAD that needs it. I’m charging my phone about four times a day because of all the calls, texts, emails, and video chats, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Perhaps Winston Churchill said it best: if you’re going through hell, keep going. Never, never, never give up. We’re right there with you.
SAVE THE DATE
- 2020 GAD Institute
Registration Opens in May