Home National housing California Realtors Apologize for History of Housing Discrimination – Orange County Register

California Realtors Apologize for History of Housing Discrimination – Orange County Register


The California Association of Realtors has apologized for the ‘prominent role’ it played in the state’s history of ‘segregation and exclusionary practices’, becoming the premier association of real estate agents in the state to do so.

Specifically, the group’s leaders repudiated the role of a predecessor organization, the California Real Estate Association, played in the 1950s and 1960s in supporting two measures that impacted the ability of low-income and minority residents to access housing.

They include support for Section 34 in 1950, which required voter approval for public housing projects, making it difficult to build affordable housing in the state; and Proposition 14, a 1964 ballot measure that struck down the Rumford Act, California’s fair housing law.

Section 34 remains in force despite many efforts to repeal it, most recently with the help of the CAR. But the United States Supreme Court struck down Proposition 14 in 1967 in a case brought by Santa Ana tenants Lincoln and Dottie Mulkey.

“Unfortunately, this organization has an unfortunate history of promoting discriminatory policies,” CAR 2022 President Otto Catrina said Friday, Oct. 21, at a press conference in Los Angeles. “I’m here to say the association was wrong. Not only do we apologize for these practices, we strongly condemn them. »

Several people present at Friday’s press conference applauded CAR’s decision to apologize.

“I want to thank God for this historic moment. It took a long time to come,” said Derrick Luckett, California president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, or NAREB, a 75-year-old organization of African-American real estate professionals formed when black people were denied membership in associations of real estate agents.

“A lot of people have been denied wealth and the things they should be entitled to,” Luckett added. “And hopefully from now on we’ll be in a better place, a better space and we’ll end up being a great group to make sure we’re all fighting for democracy and housing on a level area of Game.”

“We all applaud the CAR for this apology,” said Dolores Goldman, executive director of the Multicultural Real Estate Alliance for Urban Change. “We accept it and we support it. … We are all working together for democracy and housing and to eradicate redlining in lending practices.

The California realtors’ apology is part of a larger national judgment that realtors have had on their industry’s role in promoting racial segregation since the early 1900s. The Chicago Association of Realtors issued its apology in 2018, the 50th anniversary of the Federal Fair Housing Act. The National Association of Realtors issued a similar apology in November 2020, followed by recent apologies by realtors in Atlanta, St. Louis, and Minneapolis.

Catrina said California’s decision to issue a formal apology came in response to requests from Bay Area members of the association’s diversity committee.

Historians document a different America in the early 20th century, saying many American cities were integrated before a series of practices beginning with exclusionary zoning and racial covenants began carving out all-white neighborhoods across the country. The Federal Housing Administration encouraged the practice by requiring new developments to contain contract clauses or other barriers to nonwhite home buyers as a condition of financing.

Estate agents played a key role in developing and supporting these policies, historians say.

The legacy of discrimination lives on. US Census figures show that while 64.5% of non-Hispanic white Californians were homeowners in 2021, only 35.5% of black households, 45.6% of Latino households and 61.2% of Asian households in the state were owners. Denial of home ownership led to a loss of housing appreciation that contributed to increased household wealth among white people. CAR reported that less than half of black households earn the minimum income needed to buy a home.

“Homeownership is a key element in creating generational wealth and economic security for working families,” Catrina said at the press conference. “As gatekeepers to homeownership, real estate agents have a unique role to play in the fight for fair housing.”

The State Realtors Group outlined a number of actions it is taking to support homeownership in underserved communities, including supporting efforts to repeal Section 34 and to other laws promoting fair housing.

The association has also partnered with housing groups in Los Angeles, Riverside and the Bay Area city of Richmond to provide grants of up to $10,000 to help minority homebuyers pay closing costs. The program has distributed or is currently processing $755,000 in closing cost grants and has approved an additional $250,000 for future grants.