April is Fair Housing Month

April 2023 marks the 55th Anniversary of the signing of the Federal Fair Housing Act. While the first-time fair housing was addressed was closer to 150 years ago, we are still working to find equality in housing. Here is a quick history and a few things that are being done to help ensure fair housing is available to everyone.

Brief History

In 1866 the first fair housing act was signed.  It prohibited discrimination in housing because of race or color.  Fast-forward 102 years and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt which expanded fair housing for race, skin color, sex, nationality, or religion.  This became the basis for today’s fair housing laws.  In 1988 disability and familial status were added as protected classes.  Today, there are 7 protected classes:  Race, Color, National Origin, Religion, Sex, Familial Status, and Disability.

Fair Housing in 2023

There are many organizations that promote Fair Housing.  While everyone must include the 7 protected classes, some organizations have expanded on this even more and become even more inclusive. 

For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) includes sexual orientation and gender identity (as categorized by sex in the 7 protected classes).  HUD is commemorating this month in several ways as indicated in their recent press release.  https://www.hud.gov/press/press_releases_media_advisories/hud_no_23_069

HUD Secretary, Marcia L. Fudge stated “Today, we recommit to our mission to provide equality and opportunity to every person who calls America home, regardless of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation or gender identity), disability, or familial status.”

Additionally, the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) specifically includes sexual orientation and gender identity in their Code of Ethics (Articles 3 and 10). https://www.nar.realtor/about-nar/governing-documents/the-code-of-ethics

The National Association of REALTORS is also hosting several events this month to commemorate Fair Housing Month.  On April 25th NAR will broadcast live on Facebook with speakers Emily Badger of the New York Times, Nora Guerra from Freddie Mac, Charles Lowery of the National Housing Conference, and former FHA Commissioner Dana Wade of Walker & Dunlop.  NAR will also host a zoom even to discuss how REALTORS are sharing fair housing knowledge and advancing equitable homeownership opportunities.  You can find out more here: https://www.nar.realtor/fair-housing/fair-housing-month/fair-housing-month-events#:~:text=April%2025%2C%202023%20%7C%202%3A,of%20the%20Fair%20Housing%20Act.

Additionally, The National Association of REALTORS works towards Fair Housing all year long through educational opportunities such as the “At Home With Diversity” Certification and their Fairhaven Fair Housing Simulation for REALTORS.

Other Fair-Housing Oriented Organizations

While the National Association of REALTORS remains committed to Fair Housing, there are other ancillary organizations for real estate professionals that help promote housing to people in specific protected classes.

NAGLREP: The advocacy mission of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals is to advocate on behalf of the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LBGT) community as it relates to housing and discrimination laws.  They raise awareness through education and events to encourage existing efforts amongst the civil rights community, as well as REALTOR associations.  NAGLREP is a stakeholder at HUD.

NAHREP: We are The Voice for Hispanic Real Estate® and proud champions of homeownership for the Hispanic community. Homeownership is the symbol of the American Dream, the cornerstone of wealth creation and a stabilizing force for working families. Our role as trusted advisors and passionate advocates is to help more Hispanic families achieve the American Dream in a sustainable way that empowers them for generations to come.

NAREB: The purpose of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers® is to enhance the professional and business conditions of NAREB® Realtist® members by strengthening the consumer capacity of Black, minority, and emerging target market segments that Realtists® serve. And by promoting the real estate industry in general, utilizing economic, political, legal, and social leverage to remediate disparate and discriminatory housing and property ownership policies and practices prevailing in the United States.

While there are other organizations that assist with Fair Housing that are not mentioned here, my hope is that you have found this information helpful.  Fair Housing should be a goal that everyone takes responsibility for.  All people deserve a place to call home.


About the Author

Melissa Hailey is a successful real estate broker in Texas. She is also a certified real estate instructor and the CEO for Agent Advantage Coaching and Training, as well as a Certified Coach for Workman Success Systems.  Her passion for helping REALTORS build their real estate business is evident in all that she does.  The more agents she can help, the more consumers she can impact in a positive way through home ownership.  Connect with her on LinkedIn @melissahaileyrealtor