REALTORS® sell the value of home, real estate and business property every day and that is what makes us unique. There aren’t many other industries or jobs in America where you can say “I” am responsible for making the American Dream a reality.
And while we say it emphatically in 2022, this isn’t a new idea or something unique to this year. This is who we are – this is who we were last year and this is what we will be for years to come. So now it’s time to show even more of the impact that REALTORS® has on our communities, the state’s economy, and the well-being of the nation.
We will do this through our ongoing American Dream of Homeownership campaign, emphasizing that REALTORS® hold the key to home ownership. It is an extension of the National Association of REALTORS® This Is Who We Are campaign.
We launched the American Dream of Homeownership campaign earlier this year by educating members at our events, sharing key research with the media, addressing discriminatory reviews and restrictive agreements, and collecting customer stories to share across all our communication channels.
But there is still a lot to be done.
Not only do traces of discrimination still exist, but barriers are emerging that make homeownership even more elusive for all Illinois residents. Indeed, in recent years we have had to defend homeowners against an increasing number of state and local policy proposals that would have effectively crushed the American dream of home ownership for those who have not yet achieved it. Legislation was also proposed in the Illinois General Assembly that could have unintended consequences that would affect all homeowners — whether you live in a small town, a big city, or a new subdivision.
Illinois needs more housing that is affordable statewide, plain and simple.
Our advocacy for preserving and building new homes is an integral part of our American Dream campaign. As are the strides we are making to diversify our industry by increasing the number of college scholarships for minorities and providing grants for tailored training for realtors.
We’re working to find these objective, impartial influencers who can help us survey Illinois residents to find out if the American dream of home ownership is still within reach — and if not, what can be done to achieve it to reach. We hope to find the influencers willing to speak in a documentary about the legacy of housing discrimination and what can be done to eliminate some of the remaining forms of discrimination, such as restrictive covenants and discriminatory reviews.
The American Dream campaign is about awareness, understanding, education and action. So if you ask why we are using this campaign to better serve our customers, improve our communities and make Illinois more attractive and affordable, we answer: We are!
Jeff Baker is the CEO of Illinois REALTORS®.