The NAR Legislative Meetings held May 1st-6th in National Harbor, MD got off to an enlightened start with a forum dedicated to the subject of Fair Housing. The Federal Legislative and Political Forum: Building Prosperity through Fair Housing event featured former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and former advisor to President Trump, Ja’Ron Smith together to discuss what deters so many minority families from the dream of homeownership and strategies to correct the course.
Roadblocks include the loss of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. which has hurt many middle class families, credit score issues, and local zoning ordinances that stand in the way of affordable housing. Minorities also face appraisal and racial biases in their attempts to purchase or sell a home.
Fortunately, both Lance Bottoms and Smith had plenty of solutions to share which would benefit minorities looking to fulfill their version of the American Dream. Financial literacy is a starting point that will positively affect citizens across racial and economic lines. Understanding budgeting and the ins and outs of a home purchase including its future maintenance and upkeep can start future home buyers on the right track. Credit scores were also a point of contention. Lance Bottoms advocates for the need of a reexamination of the industry. Many individuals make mistakes in their youth that make it difficult to purchase a home in adulthood. She also spoke to allowing one’s rental payment record to be included as a factor on a credit report.
Additionally, both panelists called upon both public and private sectors to work together on incentives to build affordable housing that benefit all sides. The creation of Affordable Housing Trust Funds were also highlighted including their uses for down payment assistance and property tax assistance for low-income homeowners.
Smith encouraged the audience to speak with their own local officials on the subject of affordable housing and how a collaborative effort can work to benefit entire communities. Below are some helpul resources.