By MAURICE SAUNDERS WP Staff Writer
HOUSTON - At the 75th National Convention of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge delivered a passionate speech, vowing to combat appraisal bias and discrimination in the housing market. The convention attendees were galvanized by her fiery address, which emphasized the administration's commitment to creating housing opportunities and fairness for marginalized communities.
In her dynamic and inspirational speech, Secretary Fudge recounted her experience of living in a Black neighborhood where her home, despite being larger, had a lower value than nearby White neighborhoods. This personal insight fueled her determination to address the issue of appraisal bias and bring equity to housing valuations.
Secretary Fudge announced a landmark collaboration between HUD and NAREB to tackle appraisal bias in the Black community. NAREB's outgoing president, Lydia Pope, praised the partnership, highlighting its potential to increase Black wealth and homeownership opportunities for Black families.
The agreement with HUD outlines several collaborative actions to be implemented in the fiscal year 2024, commencing on October 1, 2023. These include online training sessions for housing counselors to understand racial appraisal bias, roundtable discussions to address bias in specific geographic areas, and the development of educational materials to combat appraisal bias.
During her speech, Secretary Fudge emphasized the significance of homeownership in building wealth and expressed her dedication to positively impacting the lives of Black and Brown individuals. She also revealed a policy change that allows rental history to be used as credit history for Black borrowers seeking FHA loans, aiming to expand access to credit and homeownership opportunities.
Secretary Fudge's presence at the convention held particular significance as she shares hometown roots with NAREB President Lydia Pope, both from Cleveland, OH. This shared connection exemplifies the strong ties uniting professionals in their pursuit of advancing equity in the real estate industry.
The secretary's address left attendees motivated to embrace the challenges ahead and work together toward creating a more equitable and inclusive housing landscape. Secretary Fudge's rallying call to action, "Stay Encouraged, Stay Vigilant, WE NEED YOU. Thank You!" resonated with the real estate professionals, inspiring them to drive positive change in the industry.