As real estate agents, we have a calling to help support our communities and families in a number of ways. There is a Code of Ethics that each of our Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate, Northern Indiana Real Estate, Tomie Raines REALTORS® and Executive Realty agents takes very seriously. And in that code of ethics, there is special attention to the importance of “widely allocated ownership” and “wise utilization” of the land.
In other words, it is our duty to be the stewards for fair and equitable housing for anyone in our communities.
Traditionally, April is Fair Housing Month, but, as we know, 2020 has not been a normal year. Fair housing is always important, so we are taking time now to showcase and spotlight this issue, and how real estate professionals are taking steps to insure everyone can achieve that American dream of homeownership without hinderance or difficulty.
What is Fair Housing?
Fair Housing is defined as the “right to equitable access to housing and housing services including renting, selling, buying advertising, financing, insuring or appraising.” In the U.S., fair housing is enforced through Federal law established in 1968 called the Fair Housing Act. Brought on by significant civil rights efforts and initiatives, like the Civil Rights Act and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the Fair Housing Act provides protection against housing discrimination for certain protected classes:
- National Origin
- Familial Status
In Michigan, there are also protections for two additional classes:
- Marital Status
And in Indiana, protected classes also include:
- Gender Identity
- Sexual Orientation
- Military Service Veteran Status
Why Is Fair Housing Important?
- Provides Access to Housing for Everyone: historically, housing was not a right held by all people. Fair housing laws and procedures insure everyone has the right to access safe and secure housing.
- Promotes Diversity in Neighborhoods: communities with a diverse array of people, cultures, ideas, and practices are often the most successful, especially in times of economic difficulties.
- Increases Community ‘Curb Appeal’: by providing a path for homeownership to everyone, communities become centers for economic development, community investment, and talent retention. What community couldn’t benefit from that?
How Can You Help?
As REALTORS® we are able to access a database of training and education materials to help to continue to learn, grow and be better for our communities. But as a consumer, you can do the same! There are countless resources for consumers to contribute to fair housing and non-discrimination efforts, in the homeownership world, or outside of it.
To learn more about Fair Housing in your community, visit the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) or the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI)
Read a book from this list of the National Association of REALTORS® book recommendations around Fair Housing.
Watch a movie from this list of the National Association of REALTORS® movie recommendations around Fair Housing.