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REALTORS Believe In The Future of Ferguson

By HOM Editorial Team
April 2016

The property destruction that occurred during the 2014 Ferguson riots was devastating for many homeowners. The St. Louis Association of REALTORS® (SLAR) was quick to respond, providing relief in the form of food and basic supplies to suburban homeowners whose property was damaged in the riots. The association shared that they have always been committed to being a strong community resource, so it was without hesitation that they came to homeowners aid immediately.

SLAR felt that it was imperative that they do more than just extend relief and so they worked to obtain a $5,000 Diversity Grant from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). The grant was used to launch an educational campaign that addressed the need for fair housing practices in the Ferguson area. The campaign also stressed the importance of maintaining integrated communities and holding home values steady during the rebuilding period.

Six months after the riots SLAR held a standing-room only town forum called “STL 20/20: Perfect Vision.” The forum focused on how the crisis in Ferguson would impact the housing market and featured a panel of professionals who were dedicated to building stable, diverse communities. REALTORS gathered to discuss fair housing laws and local resources that they could extend to homeowners. They also learned how to best participate in difficult conversations with homeowners about race, discrimination and residential segregation.

Elizabeth Braznell, then president of the SLAR, also launched a Ferguson task force made up of local REALTORS® and association leaders. The task force operated with the foundational belief that REALTORS® needed to provide community leadership in order to further diversity in the Ferguson area. The task force continues to be dedicated to maintaining a healthy, safe and sound community for Ferguson area homeowners.

SLAR is thrilled to see the community not only rebuild, but to come back even stronger than before the riots. Realtor.com predicted than in 2016 St. Louis would become one of the hottest housing markets in the nation. And trends seem to indicate that this is indeed Ferguson’s fate as homeowners watched prices in the 63135 zip code increase by 150% in 2015.

2015 SLAR President Janet Judd, herself a testament to the SLAR diversity commitment, as the association’s first Latina president states, “SLAR has many aspirational goals, and we must balance them with sensitivity to all perspectives, but I am confident we will be successful.” She went on to say, “We cannot erase the past, but we can change the future.” And indeed SLAR continues to work towards building a more racially integrated and supportive Ferguson.

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