Colorado Real Estate News

Housing for All is Not Aspirational, It’s Fair

Written by President and CEO of Kentwood Real Estate, Gretchen Rosenberg

Fair housing as a concept began when legislators and practitioners acknowledged that housing policy had not previously been equitable. April is national fair housing month, however, it takes every month of the year and every day of the month to right past wrongs and create housing equity.

The American Dream

Having a place to call home that we own remains a cornerstone of the American dream. Home signifies safety and stability for many people and impacts where families send their children to school, where people work and how they get to work, and where they access community services. Homeownership boosts household wealth through equity and appreciation, and over time, provides many other social and economic benefits. It strengthens neighborhoods.

The Reality and Challenge

Unfortunately, not all people have enjoyed equal access to homeownership. Bias and prejudice throughout our country’s history have resulted in people experiencing both subtle and direct housing discrimination due to their race, national origin, the color of skin, religion, veteran status, sexual orientation, disability, or family status. Discrimination in housing is wrong; it is also illegal. 

Fair Housing is Everyone’s Job

As respected leaders in our community, it is our responsibility and commitment to ensure that every person who desires to rent or purchase housing is able to do so without bias or discrimination. All of our licensed REALTORS® at Kentwood Real Estate receive formal training on the topic. Fair Housing is part of the National Association of REALTORS® code of ethics. In addition, our lending associates at Prosperity Home Mortgage have an equal commitment to Fair Lending. Each of us must be 100% committed to Fair Housing and Fair Lending. 

Honoring Fair Housing month is a reminder that we’ve come a long way, yet we have miles to go to achieve equity.

Colorado Real Estate News

CEO Reflections

Rooted in… Equity

By Gretchen Rosenberg, President & CEO of Kentwood Real Estate

Fair. Housing. I’m looking at these two words separately because many in real estate have tended to run them together, fairhousing, and thereby lost the meaning.

It’s something we’re required to learn, but is it something in our hearts and in our practice?

This week one of our very own brokers, Lori Pace, a recognized speaker on diversity, inclusion, and fair housing gave our company an outstanding presentation. We learned a lot, especially the pitfalls to look out for while we’re working on behalf of our clients, our neighborhoods, and our communities.

Recently, a reading of The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein brought home the deeply systemic ways people of color have been discriminated against in housing for decades. Not just the redlining of neighborhoods from a lending standpoint, but discriminatory zoning regulations and overlays, homeowner’s association regulations and site locations for industrial plants.

Kentwood real estate is rooted in equity, not in exploitation. We believe everyone should be treated equally and afforded the same opportunity. The opportunity to live where they want to and to choose the type of housing that best fits their lifestyle.

One of my first meetings as a Kentwood manager brought home how committed our company has been to this concept. We were discussing whether to design a second sign. A luxury sign to go in front of any listing worth more than a certain high price point because some of our competitors were doing that very thing. Our Kentwood General Sales Manager at the time said, “No, we won’t do that. I don’t agree with the idea.” He went on to say, “Imagine how you would feel if your house didn’t qualify for that special sign. Someone in one neighborhood or on one block gets the luxury sign but you don’t? That’s not who we are. We treat everyone with the same luxury service and experience, and everyone should get the same Kentwood sign in front of their home.” End of discussion. Decision made.

That’s rooted in equity, a principle I intend to help our brokers and staff continue to learn more about and get better at demonstrating to the people of Colorado.