Thanks to the actions of Chicago REALTOR® Vicky Silvano and colleagues from the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), this is the first month the United States Census Bureau will collect distinct data on Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) for quarterly homeownership reports.
In May, Silvano was part of a delegation that met with the Census Bureau representatives in Washington, D.C., to ask for the change. That decision came many months after AREAA began its “No Other” campaign, seeking more effective housing and homeownership policies for the AAPI community through accurate collection of data.
“The quarterly reports will put a needed spotlight on Asian American Pacific Islander homeownership for government agencies and businesses,” said Silvano, “so that more Asian American Pacific Islanders can achieve the American dream of owning a home.” Asian American Pacific Islanders secured more than two million home loans during the previous five years, according to AREAA. “It is the Census Bureau’s quarterly homeownership statistics that are widely reported in the media and in academic /policy documents, therefore, these quarterly reports influence the broad policy and media dialogue around housing and homeownership related to the diverse communities.”
Silvano describes her role
“As AREAA’s National Chair, I, together with some of our executive board, did a series of conference calls and meetings with some of the members of the Asian American Congressional Caucus as well as a final meeting with Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson, to discuss the importance of adding a distinct category of AAPI in their quarterly homeownership reports. This campaign happened because we had a unified voice and representation to make known our presence and economic impact, not only in the real estate industry, but in the U.S. economy as a whole.”
Was the Washington meeting intimidating?
“Yes, the meeting in the director’s office was intimidating and nerve-racking because it was my first time to meet high-level government officials,” Silvano said. “But I was there with a purpose and the purpose was not for myself. This change was for a whole community – AAPI.”
What positives are gained in Illinois by the change?
“In Illinois, we have about 587,000 Asian American Pacific Islanders located mostly in Cook and DuPage counties, gaining about a 39 percent increase between 2000-2010 censuses. With the success of our ‘No Other’ campaign, our local government can look into important social services needed by our communities. This lack of social services is often based on the idea that Asian Americans are model minorities. With the disaggregation of data, there can be better representation and understanding of the needs of our communities. This may also result in getting more local people to run for office who may be able to represent us and get our voices heard.”
How did it feel personally to be a part of the change?
“Personally, it was a great win to lead this effort. It felt like the impact was not just directed to me but the whole AAPI community. This ‘WIN’ not only affects me but my kids as well and the generations to come.”
Silvano, a broker for Century 21 SGR, Inc., began her real estate career in 1990. She’s received the following recognition from Century 21: Outstanding Sales Achievement Award, 1997-2015; Century 21 Centurion Awards, 2001-2005; 2013-2015; and Century 21 Honor Society member. She was named National Chair for AREAA in October, 2015. She is a former Chair of AREAA Greater Chicago chapter. She served on the CIPS (2010) and CRS (2011) committees for the Illinois REALTORS®.
Silvano was born and raised in the Philippines and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of the Philippines.
Check the Illinois REALTORS® blog for periodic stories about the achievements of association members, including those involved in affiliated professional organizations. It’s another way we’re celebrating the association’s 100th anniversary year. If you’d like to suggest a fellow REALTOR® for a story like this, please drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.