February 1st marks the start of National Black History Month. Join us as we celebrate the rich heritage of the Black community, and keep in mind that we all need to continue learning to ensure we provide equality in housing for all. NAR data shows that overall 62% of our citizens enjoy homeownership in Berkshire County … but only 19% of our Black citizens are homeowners! We have significant work to do. Below is a cheeky video that shows how segregated neighborhoods, even those in Berkshire County, were unfairly formed and how the wealth gap was created by racist home loan policies.
We have advocated for increased fair housing budgets at HUD, advocated for mandatory fair housing training for real estate agents in Massachusetts, challenged all Berkshire REALTORS complete the NAR Fairhaven fair housing simulation training and implicit bias training, and we continue to build off the five-point framework to boost minority homeownership developed by NAR in collaboration with NAREB and the Urban Institute.
It is also incredibly important to learn and understand how the policies and regulations of the local, state and federal government throughout the years have created this homeownership gap and how we can begin solving the problems of the past for a new future of equality. (read /discuss the Color of Law!) Our work can’t just happen in February, but each day we must be vigilant in the fight to ensure every potential homeowner can find the home and neighborhood of their dreams. As John Smaby, NAR Past President said so eloquently, “That’s why our goals will remain the same in every month, throughout every transaction, and during every opportunity we have to fight discrimination and promote racial equity in America.”
How can you honor Black History Month? Here are some suggestions:
- Read and discuss the ‘The Color of Law‘ by Richard Rothstein (
- Take15 minutes to listen to how policies created segregated neighborhoods in every community (with Richard Rothstein)
- Complete the ‘Fairhaven Fair Housing Simulation’ (and share it!)
- Watch Bias Override: Overcoming Barriers to Fair Housing
- Review the five steps to boost minority homeownership
- Celebrate amazing contributions by people of color