"The American public seems to be awakening at last to the threat of forced housing laws as real estate boards and others point out how they shatter the cherished human right of private property ownership, despite the emotional appeals of many well-meaning but unthinking people," said Ed Mendenhall* of a proposed "fair-housing" bill.
In 1964, Mr. Mendenhall spoke out on NAREB's first stand against a so-called "fair-housing" bill, and said that NAREB did not oppose civil rights, but the bill in question would destroy civil liberties. "The tide is turning dramatically as the public begins to comprehend the specifics of the too-often deceptive catch phrases of 'fair housing' and 'antibias laws,' " he said.
Mr. Mendenhall focused his attention on improving low-income housing through the Association's Build America Better Committee. Committee teams investigated poor housing conditions and made recommendations for improvement to local officials. Mr. Mendenhall supplemented the Build America Better program with a five-point program aimed at solving the housing problems of low-income families. The plan included: an acceptable housing code that set suitable health and safety standards--and enforcement--in every city, town or county wanting to solve the slum problem; creation of non-profit groups (including REALTORS®) to sponsor the construction of all types of housing wherever available housing in inadequate; emphasis on the use of public welfare funds in a manner that would take families out of slums; further emphasis on gaining the cooperation of the owners of good housing by assuring direct rental payment by welfare agencies; and stimulating the services of members of sponsoring organizations.
As the belief subsided that close-in neighborhoods would become slums, a change in lender attitude occurred. "We are seeing a basic change in lender attitude and money is becoming increasingly available, with mortgage lenders for willing to loan for the reconstruction of residential structures in these urban areas," Mr. Mendenhall said. "This basic change in lender attitude is well-founded," he added, "because there is tremendous potential in may of these bypassed sections."
Mr. Mendenhall constantly stressed ethics. "We are striving to convert our business into a profession," he said. "To do so, we must not only espouse high professional standards, but we must all adhere to them rigidly. This is 1964--the year emphasizing the professional triad--responsibility, ethics and education."
He was vice president of NAREB in 1941 and previously served as president of the High Point Board of REALTORS® in North Carolina. He served a term as president of the North Carolina Real Estate Association and was selected "REALTOR® of the Year" in 1953. Elected president of the National Institute of Real Estate Brokers in 1949, Mr. Mendenhall also served many years on the Institute's Board of Directors. In addition, he was a president of the American Chapter of the International Real Estate Federation. The National Association of REALTORS® named Mr. Mendenhall life member emeritus of its Executive Committee.
Past president and director of the High Point Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Mendenhall was honored as "Citizen of the Year" in 1973. He was appointed by President Gerald Ford to serve two terms as director of the Federal National Mortgage Association in 1975 and 1976. He was one of five Presidential appointments to FNMA.
Source: Presidents of the National Association of REALTORS®, (Chicago: NAR, 1980).