WASHINGTON - The National Association of Realtors will join Americans across the country as they honor Fair Housing Month this April. As the leading advocate for home ownership, NAR strongly supports the Fair Housing Act and believes that anyone who is able and willing to assume the responsibilities of owning a home should have the opportunity to pursue that dream.
This April marks the 43rd anniversary of the 1968 landmark Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability. NAR also supports equal opportunity on the basis of sexual orientation, incorporating that support into the Realtor Code of Ethics.
"Realtors work tirelessly to build communities and believe people have a right to live wherever they can afford to live," said NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. "In this vein, Realtors believe it's imperative to recognize Fair Housing Month and reconfirm our commitment to upholding fair housing laws and our commitment to offer equal professional service to everyone."
NAR's Equal Opportunity and Cultural Diversity program offers Realtors education, grants, programs and events related to fair housing and diversity. Through the At Home with Diversity course, Realtors learn how to best work with and serve diverse consumers. Since its inception in 1998, At Home with Diversity has addressed the topics of diversity, fair housing and business planning development in a full-day certification course. NAR's Employer-Assisted Housing Class gives Realtors tools to work with local employers, helping them implement employer-assisted housing benefits to help employees become home owners.
Extensive training, grants and resources are also available to help Realtor associations and their members reach out to better serve today's diverse clientele. One workshop for association staff and their leaders, Leading with Diversity: A Business Imperative in a Changing World, helps Realtor associations incorporate diversity initiatives into their business models. In addition, NAR awards Diversity Initiative Grants to local and state associations twice a year, and Housing Opportunity Program Grants are also available to help associations support activities that create and expand affordable housing opportunities.
The Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grants program, which concluded in December 2010, awarded $4.93 million to 52 state associations and foundations with the goal of stimulating Realtors' efforts to address the ongoing need for affordable workforce housing. An end-of-program report will be available in May 2011.
NAR has successfully built partnerships with housing groups and professional real estate organizations representing the multicultural community. In May, NAR will join five real estate diversity partners in sponsoring the HOPE (Home Ownership Participation for Everyone) Awards. The awards recognize outstanding individuals and programs that are increasing minority home ownership, revitalizing communities and expanding affordable housing opportunities.
"NAR is committed to increasing awareness about fair housing laws and promoting inclusion and diversity in our nation's communities," said Phipps. "For Realtors®, every month is fair housing month. With every transaction Realtors® strive to promote inclusion, diversity and fairness in the housing industry."
The National Association of Realtors, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.