Fair Housing Education Expands for Local REALTORS®

by Justin Porembo

There is no community without unity. There is no justice without equality. And there is no America without diversity. Our country’s vibrant mix of cultures is what makes us great and gives us strength. It makes us who we are.

The Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® (GLVR) ensures opportunity is available to everyone, which is why we are proud to enforce a zero-tolerance policy on non-compliance with the Fair Housing Act.

The enactment of the federal Fair Housing Act on April 11, 1968, expanded on previous acts and prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, (and as amended) handicap, and family status.

GLVR has also signed the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce’s LGBTQ Business Council’s Business Pledge, affirming that the association and its affiliated real estate businesses are LGBTQ+-friendly and will ensure the celebration of diversity and inclusivity.

Although your local REALTORS® have consistent access to Fair Housing education through the Greater Lehigh Valley Real Estate Academy in Bethlehem, Pa., and its online partner, The CE Shop, GLVR stands behind the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) recent decision to require new-member applicants to complete two hours of fair housing training and existing members to complete two hours of fair housing training every three years as a condition of REALTOR® membership.

The new requirement was approved by NAR’s Board of Directors in May. The three-year cycle coincides with NAR’s existing Code of Ethics training requirement and begins in 2025.

The recommendation came out of a work group appointed by NAR’s Member Policy and Board Jurisdiction Committee, which advanced the recommendation to the Board of Directors. NAR’s Association Executives, Professional Development, Diversity, and Fair Housing Policy committees also voted in support of the new fair housing training requirement.

NAR’s Fair Housing Action Plan: ACT! aims to ensure REALTORS® are doing everything possible to protect housing rights in America, with an emphasis on accountability, culture change, and training.

Diversity and Community Involvement Scholarship

GLVR is ensuring the future of the real estate industry, nurturing future REALTORS®, and planting the seeds of a bright future with a scholarship program geared toward local high school students interested in pursuing a career in real estate.

Scholarship recipients are chosen by an interview panel comprised of members of the association’s Diversity and Community Involvement Committee and the chairperson of the Education Committee. The panel utilizes a weighted interview scorecard with careful consideration of scholarship applications, essays, transcripts, and in-person interviews.

A scholarship in the amount of $2,000 covers the cost of the Greater Lehigh Valley Real Estate Academy’s pre-licensing package, association dues for one year, and a year of Multiple Listing Service access. GLVR owns and operates the Greater Lehigh Valley Real Estate Academy. The school is highly regarded as the primary source for real estate education in the Lehigh Valley, with a mission to educate and develop its students into leaders who advocate for their clients and who are actively engaged in their community.

GLVR’s Board of Directors recently approved the recommendation of the Diversity and Community Involvement Committee to grant Francheska Tabb, a senior at Dieruff High School, the 2023 scholarship and to be considered for admission to the Academy.

Previous scholarship recipients have already made their way through the Academy. Christine Nicholson, a graduate of Easton Area High School, completed her coursework in 2020. Jayla Evans, a student from Parkland High School, completed her coursework in 2022.

Fair Housing Resources

GLVR has resources available to consumers in relation to fair housing. You can find a local REALTOR® dedicated to housing equality and Fair Housing resources at www.greaterlehighvalleyrealtors.com.

Courses satisfying the new NAR requirement are:

• At Home With Diversity, a course to help real estate professionals work successfully in an increasingly diverse marketplace

• Bias Override: Overcoming Barriers to Fair Housing, a course to help real estate professionals identify and interrupt stereotypical thinking to avoid fair housing pitfalls

• Fairhaven, NAR’s online fair housing simulation, will be updated to meet the stated learning objectives and two-hour minimum time frame so that it can qualify and serve as the no-cost option.

• Qualified equivalent courses provided by state and local associations, institutes, societies and councils, and their partnered providers

• Qualified equivalent fair housing courses approved by state licensing authorities for an existing state fair housing requirement

• A to-be-created non-residential practitioner course focused on bias and anti-discrimination training

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