The National Association of Realtors has rolled out a new, free interactive training platform designed to help combat discrimination in the real estate industry called Fairhaven. Fairhaven is a fair housing simulation exercise that will be offered directly to NAR members, brokerage firms and Realtor associations, NAR said.
Fairhaven is also a part of NAR’s ACT! Initiative, the association’s fair housing action plan. The initiative emphasizes accountability, culture change and training to promote equal opportunity in real estate. It also introduces self-testing and other mechanisms for holding real estate professionals accountable for discrimination.
“We are excited to announce the release of Fairhaven, a new approach to fair housing training that is unlike anything currently available in the real estate industry,” said Charlie Oppler, CEO of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty and the newly named 2021 president of NAR.
Fairhaven is a fictional town where agents choose how to respond to various scenarios involving discrimination in real estate.
In Fairhaven, agents advance through the simulation based on their answers and receive feedback on their performance. Agents can also be placed in the role of a client experiencing discrimination as part of the simulation, with client point-of-view scenarios and testimonials detailing the impact of housing discrimination in the lives of real clients.
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“Fairhaven uses the immersive power of storytelling to deliver powerful lessons that will help promote equity in our nation’s housing market,” Oppler said. “NAR will continue our work to create innovative anti-discrimination training and to champion efforts that encourage diversity, fight racial bias and build more inclusive communities.”
Just last week, NAR updated its Code of Ethics to include Realtors’ personal behavior after a series of incidents involving Realtors over the last few months and after receiving various complaints about discriminatory speech posted online by Realtors earlier this year.
During a fair housing summit on Thursday, Oppler issued an apology for NAR’s past policies that contributed to segregation and racial inequality. The association had opposed the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968 and has a history of excluding members based on race or sex.
“What Realtors did was an outrage to our morals and our ideals,” Oppler said. “It was a betrayal of our commitment to fairness and equality. I’m here today, as the president of the National Association of Realtors, to say that we were wrong.
“We can’t go back to fix the mistakes of the past, but we can look at this problem squarely in the eye. And, on behalf of our industry, we can say that what Realtors did was shameful, and we are sorry.”