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Is Fair Housing in America Fair, Really?


April is Fair Housing Month and one of the learning opportunities that LeaderKeys provides is our masterclass that tackles solutions around racial justice, which is titled Music to Action: Racial Justice Through Community Activation. We believe strongly that if we build better, inclusive communities, we can make measurable strides in finally addressing and resolving some of the economic challenges our nation faces.




Thus, our attention to Fair Housing is critical, and we are taking time this month to honor the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB). Each has played a significant role in shaping pivotal housing and civil rights legislation, which was and still requires tireless advocacy efforts to eradicate systemic disparities in housing.



 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Fair Housing


What many people do not realize is how hyper-focused Dr. King was on Fair Housing. In 1966, Dr. King, alongside James Bevel and Al Raby, spearheaded the Chicago Freedom Movement. This initiative orchestrated open-housing demonstrations in predominantly white neighborhoods, shedding light on housing injustices, which included exploitative contract sales and the widespread issue of overpriced and substandard living conditions for black families.


Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. continued his fight for fair housing and racial and economic justice until April 4, 1968, when he was murdered, and a week later, on April 11, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which included the Fair Housing Act, in response to King’s recent efforts in Chicago and outrage about his murder. The Fair Housing Act prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, and family status.


The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB)



After World War II, racial segregation challenges persisted in the US. Black Americans sought better opportunities, with gains in employment and legal victories against housing discrimination. The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) was founded in 1947 to advocate for equal housing rights amid ongoing discrimination. NAREB continues its mission for "Democracy in Housing" today.



In early 2024, NAREB published and released the 2023 SHIBA Report. The SHIBA acronym stands for State of Housing in Black America, addressing challenges faced by the Black community post-housing market collapse, such as reduced homeownership and limited mortgage credit access. The SHIBA Report highlights issues like foreclosure mitigation and neighborhood blight, with endorsed policy initiatives by NAREB focusing on rebuilding the mortgage finance system and promoting community revitalization.


This report is a must in this conversation, and we encourage you to consume it fully to raise your awareness and to help you take action to address the issues on a personal and community level. You can read the full report here: https://www.nareb.com/shiba-report.


To learn more about the mission and vision of NAREB and the work they are doing, visit their site at https://www.nareb.com/.


Fair Housing x LeaderKeys x Racial Justice

It is almost impossible to talk about Fair Housing and not talk about racial justice, although it does seem as though it is a common practice.

Latrice Torres, CEO, LeaderKeys Consulting


At LeaderKeys, we tackle the tough conversations in leadership and career management, with a focus on the impact of inequities towards the Black professional. Therefore, we will always explore these observation months through two lenses – education and equity.


On April 17, we sat down to have an #authenticandunapologetic conversation with the District Vice President and Managing Broker for Coldwell Banker, Irving Cham, to talk about the state of Fair Housing in America. In that conversation, we discussed 4 important areas of opportunity and solutions to begin taking action toward equitable opportunity for homeownership:


Fact 1: The Wealth Gap

The median net worth of White households ($250,400) is more than 10 times greater than the median net worth of Black households ($24,520). The Black-White wealth gap is so great that the 400 richest Americans control the same wealth as the 48 million Blacks living in the U.S.


Fact 2: Homeownership Rates

In 2022, the Black homeownership rate was 45%, a level that was only modestly higher than it was at the time of the passage of the 1968 Fair Housing Act. The Black/White homeownership disparity was 23.8 percentage points in 1970 and had climbed to nearly 30 percentage points in 2022, this trend is not reversing, but it can!


Fact 3: Inadequate Housing Supply

Housing demand is outpacing new home construction by roughly 100,000 units annually, which has created the largest housing shortfall in nearly half a century. The lack of housing stock is contributing to sustained high home prices despite high interest rates.


Fact 4: Housing Affordability

According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, high costs mean that prospective buyers need an annual salary of nearly $100,000 to afford the monthly payments on the median-priced home in the 2nd quarter of 2022, up from just over 1/2 of that amount ($53,000), just 3 years ago.



Solutions

Given the state of homeownership in Black America, we have to understand the contributing factors to the data above while also creating and executing solutions. We discussed this during the session and landed on 4 actions that anyone can take right now:


Education - The more we understand the issues, the more equipped we are to do something about it, but most do not know what they do not know. We live in a world of information at our fingertips, so take a personal finance class, enroll in a real estate course, become a real estate agent, learn about mortgages, loan types, home buying programs, etc. Take it one step at a time; the point is to take the step!


Representation - What would happen if we saturated jobs that are within the real estate ecosystem? Increased representation within real estate agents and brokers, real estate attorneys, property appraisers, mortgage loan officers, real estate developers, title examiners/closers, real estate analysts, etc., can be a reality, and increasing representation also checks the education box, it is a 2 for 1 and something to think about when talking about careers with young, Black youth.


Community Empowerment - Build your community knowledge to attack the specific issues your community faces. At LeaderKeys, when we say “community,” we define this in three buckets - personal, professional, and academic. Your personal community includes local government officials, community leaders, education leaders, business owners, etc. Your professional community includes Employee Resource Groups, councils, task forces, etc. Your academic community includes student council leaders, Greek organizations, support groups, etc.


Storytelling - this one is not a traditional solution, but it has heavy input into how we advance homeownership in America; we keep talking about the data, the issues, the solutions, and we retell and update and celebrate milestones and wins and bring people with us along the way. This is why every year, we celebrate the same things, if we don’t it is lost, forever. The Black community has had enough of that, so we must own this fully.


You can learn more about our conversation by watching the video:




BONUS: About the Racial Justice Workshop


The workshop is designed to be delivered to the community in which you want to make progress, whether that is your personal, professional, or academic community.


In this offering, we take participants through a journey of understanding one of the most difficult barriers to progress in our society, the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC). According to Critical Resistance, an international movement aiming to bring an end to the PIC.

The prison industrial complex is a term we use to describe the overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social and political problems.

We unpack this concept via the musical journey of the Live from the Prison Nation album by Alonzo Demetrius. There are 4 tracks aligned to 4 workshops that culminate in Community Activation activities, including a pledge, discovery process, community mapping, goal setting, and creating a measurement strategy to track and record progress.


Simply put, this offering provides a real, action-based process of uncovering, discovering, and integrating into your community. Schedule a Discovery Call today to discuss bringing this offering to your community: https://calendly.com/leaderkeys/racial-justice-workshop-overview.

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