man walking up stairs reaching for key that looks like home with NAR logo

The National Association of REALTORS® has always been among the most powerful influences over Congress (seemingly tied with the Teachers Union). NAR has done more for home ownership rights in America than any other group. Now NAR can turn its resources to fixing the largest problem in America today, homelessness.

I flew to Austin for a meeting this week and witnessed a major increase in homelessness since my last trip about 6 months ago. I asked my Lyft driver about it and she opined that homeless people are migrating from Dallas and Houston because the services are better in Austin. Living in California and spending time in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles on a regular basis, I witness mass homelessness. It is not just in our cities, it’s just as prevalent in our small town. My daughter drops off clothing at our local schools to distribute to homeless children and to foster children. A big issue facing our local community college is students sleeping in their cars because they cannot afford housing and school.

America is the wealthiest nation in the world, and we have one of the fastest-growing incidences of homelessness. The NAR can make a big difference.

The spark of innovation about how NAR can beat back homelessness came from a charity event that Marilyn and I attended. Some neighbors of ours won a 50-person pig roast party at a charity auction and invited all of the neighbors. The pig roast item was provided by a local Realtor®. She donates the auction item to numerous charities each year. Obviously, when she puts on the party, she meets lots of people that may be interested in buying or selling houses.

I am trying to come up with a catchy phrase that combines the word charity with marketing – “charketing,” “markity,”?? – send in your ideas. As I was developing this concept of Realtors® donating events to charity as a marketing tactic, I received a Twitter or Instagram alert from @homesnapchicago about the number of open houses they were having this weekend. There were thousands. That is when the idea popped into my head….

What if REALTORS® collected contributions at open houses that would go toward getting people off the streets. This could be a major national program where all REALTORS® join together.

Reasons to do this

  1. Supports REALTOR® core mission of supporting homeownership
  2. Not a partisan political issue
  3. Helps a lot of people
  4. Very positive for the REALTOR® brand

REALTORS® of America – how could you be mad about this idea? Hopefully, a few people in Association leadership will like this idea carry it to their next board meeting.