LOS ANGELES, April 11, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — 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:
- Co-sponsoring SCA 2 (Allen & Wiener), which seeks to repeal Article 34 in its entirety. Article 34 of the California Constitution requires that any affordable housing development, financed in whole or in part by federal, state, or local government be approved by voters in the jurisdiction where the project is located.
- Sponsoring AB 2166 (Mayes), which increases federal funding for ownership housing. HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) is a block grant provided by the federal government directly to large cities, towns, or counties and states. Currently, under state programs, which allocate federal funds, homeownership housing programs receive, at most, 10% of federal funds from one program and zero funding from most other programs. This bill would increase funding for homeownership housing by prioritizing 30% of federal HOME funds to facilitate the construction and purchase of owner-occupied housing and directing at least 10% of program funds for down payment assistance.
- Working with a coalition of housing and building industry organizations to call for an increase in the State Budget for funding the construction of affordable owner-occupied homes and down payment assistance programs. Greater funding for affordable ownership housing and down payment assistance will expand opportunities for Californians to build equity in a home they own.
- Sponsoring AB 2245 (Ramos), which would require all tenancies in common to be partitioned in a similar manner to the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA) and that the property be marketed by a real estate broker as opposed to a court ordered sale at auction to ensure the best value for the property. In 2021, C.A.R. sponsored legislation that enacted the UPHPA in California. Similar to the UPHPA, this bill will create a partition framework with greater safeguards and help prevent abuse of the partition law by speculators and others who target tenants in common properties in historically disadvantaged communities.
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.
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SOURCE CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS