More than a half million people experience homelessness in America on any given night, and the National Association of Realtors® is looking for ways to help.
NAR brought housing experts together with real estate professionals this week to address homelessness and affordable housing issues at a symposium in Washington, D.C. called “Housing for All.” Attendees learned how to engage stakeholders on housing initiatives, exchanged ideas for driving meaningful change in the community, and heard from experts about the state of homelessness in America.
Realtors® also came together to assemble meals for the homeless as part of the festivities. In all, 30,00 “Meals for Hope” were assembled at NAR headquarters for distribution.
At the end of the events, attendees heard from finalists of HUD’s “Innovation in Affordable Housing” competition, where participants presented their ideas for transforming and improving local communities.
NAR Vice President Sherri Meadows spoke at the symposium and said Realtors®, through their localized expertise, are uniquely positioned to help in the fight against homelessness.
“Homelessness is a real problem across the country, and Realtors® are committed to doing something about it,” said Meadows. “By putting our expertise to work, we can help strengthen the individual communities where we live and put more Americans on track towards having a place to call home.”
According to the Center for Housing Policy’s Housing Landscape2016 report, the number of families facing housing insecurity is on the rise. Additionally, roughly 17.6 million households were severely burdened by housing costs in 2014, meaning they spent more than half of their income alone on housing costs.
To help aid families and individuals experiencing homelessness, NAR’s 2016 Housing Opportunity Committee recently adopted official policy supporting a range of cost-effective approaches.
These efforts include evidence-based approaches such as “housing first,” which prioritizes permanent housing, provided as quickly as possible, with supportive services offered later as needed.
In addition to broad initiatives like “housing first,” NAR urges its state and local REALTOR® associations to work with community stakeholders in developing proactive strategies to aid citizens experiencing homelessness or facing housing insecurity.
NAR President Tom Salomone said the symposium in Washington is another example of Realtors® stepping up to help those around them.
“Realtors® are known for helping put people in homes,” said Salomone. “But that isn’t just our business; helping people find a home is also a way to build stronger communities that benefit everyone who lives there. We’re proud of that distinction and look forward to seeing these activities continue in the years ahead.”
The event’s “Housing4All” hashtag trended on Twitter as Realtors® and others shared what was happening. Below are some of highlights from around social media: