Keeping fair housing issues on the front burner
Jan Stapleton - 2023 NETAR President
The Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors® and Tri-Cities Mortgage Bankers Association recently joined forces to provide an afternoon dedicated to local recognition of Fair Housing Month.
Every April, real estate professionals celebrate and commemorate the passage of the Fair Housing Act with events and education programs focusing on housing discrimination and segregation. Fair Housing Month signifies an annual recommitment to expanding equal access to housing.
Last week’s afternoon event included some update talks on why the Act is important in today’s economy, and vendor booths. There were also small group and one-one-discussions about today’s market and fair housing issues.
Housing is a major factor in defining a person’s quality of life and the vitality of the local economy. Housing also typically accounts for about 14 percent of a locality’s total economy.
The influx of out-of-state residents since the pandemic has increased Fair Housing Act awareness. That’s understandable. During time of change, especially population and demographic change, housing issues can see extra stress that can trigger fair housing questions and issues. While the NE TN and SW VA region has certainly seen the population change, there have not been widespread instances of fair housing issues. That’s good. It’s one of the reasons real estate professionals like to keep the awareness on the front burner of buying, renting, and lending.
This year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is especially focused on protecting the right of individuals to feel safe and secure in their homes, free from sexual harassment or unwanted sexual advances. This year’s Fair Housing Month theme is “Choices for All Voices – Building an Equitable Future.” The theme reflects a national commitment to advancing equity in housing and the importance of increasing public awareness of everyone’s right to fair housing.
Where you live affects your access to social, cultural, educational, and other community amenities. In other words, housing discrimination is a denial of the opportunity to fully enjoy the American Dream.
Real estate professionals see and appreciate how important this principle is to their role in the ongoing effort to help improve the quality of neighborhoods and communities.
Like many other facets of the real estate market, fair housing issues are constantly evolving. That’s why REALTORS® keep up with those changes through continuing education – much of it from the NAR. Through that, they build a better understanding of the demographics of their communities and the changing needs of homeowners.
Of special concern to this part of the state is the realization that the overall population is aging, so new residents are the key to sustaining and growing our population. As the housing demands for an aging population and new residents arise, Realtors® will be there to serve them with a commitment to fair housing principles.
NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee. It is the largest trade association in the Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia region, representing over 1,800+ members and 100+ business partners involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Weekly market reports and information for both consumers and members are available on the NETAR website at https://netar.us