The residential rental housing industry has enormous potential to combat systemic racism by making a conscious effort
There’s no question that as a society we are increasingly witnessing the pervasiveness of racial injustice and, if we are being honest, we know full well it’s happening right here in our own backyard. This is why we as rental housing providers, both individuals and organizations responsible for providing the fundamental service of housing, must show leadership by taking a stand on diversity, inclusion, and equity. The rental housing industry has enormous potential to combat systemic racism by simply making a conscious effort. Collectively we must take action to foster a more diverse workforce, understand unconscious bias, or even create more equitable housing. Our sector has to figure this out. Everyone is looking at what we do. Know that ignoring the issue, or simply “checking the boxes” on some disingenuous plan, won’t cut it.
LandlordBC recently partnered with a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) expert to help our members begin this important journey. Through a series of three webinars, Renee Charles helped us understand what diversity is and why it is important, the difference between exclusion and inclusion and, finally, she described anti-racism in action. If you didn’t attend the webinar series, we strongly urge you to view the recordings archived in the secure members-only section of our website. If you have staff (property managers, building managers, resident managers, administrative staff, etc.), ensure that they too watch these three webinars. They are each 90 minutes long. Please know that we engaged Renee for our members. Please do not miss the opportunity to take advantage of this resource.
In the meantime, here are some tips on how to incorporate DEI into your organization, regardless of size:
1. There’s a difference between equity versus equality: Equality is giving everyone the same thing, and not acknowledging historical and present-day inequities. When we distribute resources with equality in mind, we may be giving some people things that they don’t need and missing the opportunity to provide additional resources to those who have been historically and systematically impacted by inequity.
2. Make sure your initiatives are properly structured and resourced in your organization. Oftentimes people are tasked with achieving a lot, but they don’t have the resources.
3. Ideally, the person in charge of DEI initiatives should be involved in meetings and discussions where major decision-making happens.
4. When you interview potential hires, you can mitigate bias by asking standardized questions. Studies have shown that structured interviewing is a more effective way to interview.
5. DEI initiatives have gotten dinged for being a check box item instead of having meaningful impact. If you do just one thing and do it one time, then it becomes a check box. But if you launch a training program and it’s in conjunction with coaching and revised company policies, that’s a great way to do change management.