Fair Housing Act at Home
April is Fair Housing Month, and here’s what you can do at home!
Each year, April is the designated month that REALTORS® observe the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The Fair Housing Act is to be abided by all professionals involved in housing sales, rentals and financial processes, to ensure equal opportunity to all prospective house buyers or renters. This year might be more relevant than ever for REALTORS® to brush up on their knowledge of the Fair Housing Act, with the recent 3 year long Long Island Real Estate investigation that came to light in January, uncovering the unequal treatment of prospective buyers by Real Estate Professionals based on their ethnicity.
The National Association of REALTORS® typically hosts events around the country to help educate and re-commit REALTORS® to abide by the Fair Housing Act, and update them with any new information relevant to this topic. In light of the current situation, the NAR has put together some suggestions of how REALTORS® can re-inform and update themselves on the Fair Housing Act, without having to leave their home.
If you’re looking to curl up with a good book to broaden your knowledge of the Fair Housing Act, here are some recommendations from the NAR’s Director of Federal Fair Housing Policy, Bryan Greene, who compiled books to help deepen REALTORS® understanding of how we became divided, and the ramifications of living in a segregated society.
- The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstien
- American Aparthied: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass by Douglas S. Massey
- Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Home Ownership by Keeanga- Yamahtta Taylor
- Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle
- Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy by David Zucchino
A full list of recommendations and reviews are available here.
If you’re looking for a film to help educate about housing discrimination, segragation and those who are working to help correct these social and economic injustices, here are some films, documentaries and short videos to watch:
- Featured Film: The Banker featuring Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson. This film is available now to stream on Apple TV+
- The Disturbing History of the Suburbs: Adams Ruins Everything. This 6 minute video highlights ‘Redlining’ and can be watched on Youtube.
- Segregated by Design: This short 17 Minute Film is based on the book ‘The Color of Law’ and can be watched on Vimeo.
- Why Cities are still so Segregated: The 6 Minute Video from NPR can be viewed here.
- America Divided: A House Divided. This 44 minute documentary featuring Norman Lear explores the housing divide in New York City. Information to watch the documentary can be found on their website.
- A Matter of Place: This 27 minute long film highlights the past struggles for fair housing in New York City and connects them with current day stories. This film can be watched here.
More information regarding the recommended films can be found here.
Wanting to multi-task by getting some work done at home while listening to an educational podcast? Here are some recommendations to listen to:
- ‘House Rules’, This American Life Podcast. On this episode, This American Life discusses why where you live is important. Listen to the episode.
- ‘Location! Location! Location! NPR Codeswitch. An investigative reporter discussed how HUD failed to uphold the Fair Housing Act’s command to change the course of residential segregation in America. Listen to the episode.
- Building Stuyvesant Town: A Mid-Century Controversy. The Bowery Boys: New York City History. This podcast delves into the residential complexes of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, which were built on the east side of New York City in the late 1940’s. What seemed like a perfect solution for returning WWII veterans and young families was, as long as you were white. Listen to the episode here.
For a full list of podcast recommendations and summaries, check them out here.
These books, films and podcasts are great resources to keep yourself educated and informed, while we are staying safe at home. For more information, visit the NAR’s page dedicated to Fair Housing Month at Home.