Fair housing as a concept began when legislators and practitioners acknowledged that housing policy had not previously been equitable. April is national fair housing month, however, it takes every month of the year and every day of the month to right past wrongs and create housing equity.
The American Dream
Having a place to call home that we own remains a cornerstone of the American dream. Home signifies safety and stability for many people and impacts where families send their children to school, where people work and how they get to work, and where they access community services. Homeownership boosts household wealth through equity and appreciation, and over time, provides many other social and economic benefits. It strengthens neighborhoods.
The Reality and Challenge
Unfortunately, not all people have enjoyed equal access to homeownership. Bias and prejudice throughout our country’s history have resulted in people experiencing both subtle and direct housing discrimination due to their race, national origin, the color of skin, religion, veteran status, sexual orientation, disability, or family status. Discrimination in housing is wrong; it is also illegal.
Fair Housing is Everyone’s Job
As respected leaders in our community, it is our responsibility and commitment to ensure that every person who desires to rent or purchase housing is able to do so without bias or discrimination. All of our licensed REALTORS® at Kentwood Real Estate receive formal training on the topic. Fair Housing is part of the National Association of REALTORS® code of ethics. In addition, our lending associates at Prosperity Home Mortgage have an equal commitment to Fair Lending. Each of us must be 100% committed to Fair Housing and Fair Lending.
Honoring Fair Housing month is a reminder that we’ve come a long way, yet we have miles to go to achieve equity.
Written by President and CEO of Kentwood Real Estate, Gretchen Rosenberg