The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) promotes and advocates for fair housing every month, but each April, it celebrates the passage of the 1968 landmark Fair Housing Act, which was signed into law only seven days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
C.A.R. kicked off Fair Housing Month with event announcements, social media posts, a home buying assistance program and legislative action to enable its 200,000+ members to expand homeownership and advance equity in housing and securing equal access to housing opportunities for all.
While more than 50 years have gone by since the law was passed, there are still wide racial homeownership disparities. Many communities remain segregated and housing discrimination and barriers to equal housing opportunity persist for communities of color, women, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community and other historically marginalized communities.
California fair housing laws are ever-changing and wide-ranging. And knowledge of fair housing laws isn’t only essential for a legally compliant business, it’s one of the best ways that REALTORS® can help address wealth and homeownership barriers that may be higher for people of color and other underserved groups.
The first of several events that C.A.R. is hosting for its members to commemorate Fair Housing Month is a Fair Housing and Diversity Forum on April 21. Experts will address land development for equity and housing inventory issues in communities of color. Speakers include Nikki Beasley, executive director of Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services; Ricardo Flores, executive director of Local Initiatives Support Corp San Diego; Neily Soto, Century 21; and Matt Gelfand, in-house counsel for C.A.R.’s Californians for Homeownership.
C.A.R. is also hosting Fair Housing Day on May 17 for all C.A.R. members to discuss current challenges as well as how REALTORS® can help address racial and other homeownership disparities. This day-long event features exciting keynote speakers, industry leaders and practitioners with deep experience working to expand homeownership and housing opportunities. Speakers include representatives from the National Fair Housing Alliance, National Association of REALTORS®, Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California, California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and other nationally recognized fair housing experts and advocates.
Fair Housing Day offers attendees an opportunity to learn critical business tools, fair housing basics and how they can help promote greater access and fairness in housing for Californians from every community.
Study after study shows that the best way for working Californians to achieve economic and housing security and stability is through homeownership. Among legislative actions C.A.R. is undertaking this year that promote fair housing and expand homeownership opportunity:
Additionally, in an effort to address California’s growing housing affordability crisis and racial homeownership disparities, C.A.R. is partnering with nonprofit housing organizations to provide closing cost grants up to $10,000 for eligible first-time home buyers who are members of historically underserved communities.
As we work together to close racial homeownership gaps, we encourage our members to become involved in diversity and fair housing conversations happening at the local, state and national REALTOR® association levels. Visit C.A.R.’s Fair Housing website here.
Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 110 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with more than 217,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.