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NAR Looking to Alter Approach to Housing Discrimination

A report by Newsday [1]says that the National Association of Realtors is looking to make changes in its approach to housing discrimination. 

Possible plans include looking at state real estate laws, create a voluntary fair-housing testing program for brokerages, and offer anti-basis training. 

“A large part of this initiative is helping everyone in the real estate profession understand that fair housing is good for business, it's good for the economy, it's good for the well-being of our communities, it's essential to the well-being of our communities, and it’s right,” Bryan Greene, NAR’s Fair Housing Policy Director. 

According to Newsday, local and fair-housing advocates praised the NAR plan, although noting it is not a substitute for increased federal and state enforcement of fair-housing laws. 

“It’s all well and good for industries to set standards that improve, generally speaking, how businesses are conducting themselves,” said Thomas Silverstein, an associate counsel for fair housing at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C. 

Silverstein added that enforcement of anti-discriminations law by federal and state agencies is too law. 

The House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing last October [2] on discrimination in housing and lending in the LGBTQ community. 

Congressman and Financial Services Committee member Al Green said the meeting was “long overdue.” 

“You are not alone. You have allies in the Congress in the United States of America,” Green said. 

Green said those in the LGBTQ community face economic insecurity, discrimination in housing, a lack of legal protection, and that the disrcimination on mortgage exists and is “proveable.” 

“Discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual orientation … is wrong and should not be tolerated anywhere, including in the mortgage and the consumer lending industries,” said Committee member Rep. Andy Barr. 

Testifying during the hearing were Harper Jean Tobin, Director of Policy, National Center for Transgender Equality; Michael Adams, CEO, Sage; Kerith Coonron, Research Director, Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law; Alphonso David, President, Human Rights Campaign; Hua Sun, Professor, Iowa State University; Francis Creighton, President and CEO, Consumer Data Industry Association. 

According to a House memo, a study by Prudential found that nearly half of LGBTQ respondents had household incomes below $50,000, while the median-household incomes for non-LGBTQ people was around $70,000.