Gladys Spikes podcast interview with Antionette Blake

Pioneering Positive Community Change in Delaware’s Housing Landscape

What are some of the challenges that people in Delaware face when it comes to fair housing, and how is Housing Opportunities of Northern Delaware addressing these issues?

Introduction to Housing Advocacy

The fabric of our communities is woven by the hands of those committed to making a difference. In a powerful episode of “Out & About with Antionette,” I had the privilege to hear from Gladys Spikes, a steadfast advocate for housing opportunities in Northern Delaware. Having dedicated over four decades to this cause, Gladys embodies the spirit of change, equity, and progress, stirring in us a deeper understanding of the critical role housing plays in community building and the creation of generational wealth.

Gladys Spikes profile picture

Gladys Spikes: A Pillar of the Community

Indelibly linked to Gladys’ name is a legacy that stretches across a span of expert roles—from educational coordinator to social worker, to leading the charge in Wilmington’s real estate division. However, at the crux of her journey is her unwavering commitment to fair housing advocacy, demonstrated in her leadership at Housing Opportunities of Northern Delaware. Here, she champions the cause through educational initiatives, testing to support discrimination cases, and pioneering housing counseling services. This work culminates annually with events that focus on the realities of housing discrimination and building wealth within the Black community.


Fair Housing Month and Building Black Wealth

April’s distinction as Fair Housing Month serves as a fitting backdrop for Gladys and her team’s ongoing conversation about housing equity. Despite the pandemic push towards virtual formats, their dedication to educating the public and advocating for change has not waned. Through forums, they tackle pressing issues like appraisal discrimination and offer tools for Black families to navigate and challenge systemic barriers to building wealth through homeownership.


Combatting Appraisal Discrimination

A critical issue on Gladys’ agenda is appraisal discrimination—a subtle yet corrosive practice that undercuts the wealth-building potential of Black homeowners. It’s a topic drawn sharply into focus by real-life scenarios where homes owned by Black families are appraised at significantly lower values compared to when those same properties are assumed to be owned by white families. This systemic redlining exemplifies one of the many battles being fought to foster a more equitable housing marketplace.

Gladys emphasizes the need for more certified appraisers from diverse backgrounds to mitigate these biases. Furthermore, she shares uplifting developments, such as the collaboration with Realtor associations to empower Black real estate agents, historically excluded from mainstream Realtor boards, and to support housing initiatives that build Black wealth.

Community Engagement Events

On the heels of Fair Housing Month, events organized by Gladys’ team, like the recent community day and the upcoming 40th Fair Housing Annual Luncheon, remain pivotal. These gatherings not only honor outstanding contributors to the housing sector but also raise awareness and provide educational resources for individuals looking to make informed housing decisions.


Building for the Future

As Gladys turns to future endeavors, her focus remains unflinchingly on the annual events, ensuring that each year brings innovative solutions and awareness to new and evolving challenges in fair housing. For those inspired by “Out & About with Antionette” to take part in these critical conversations, they are encouraged to participate in advocacy groups, seek out resources from organizations like Gladys’ and consider attending relevant forums and luncheons that directly address the intersection of housing, discrimination, and wealth-building.



Gladys Spikes’ charge is clear, invigorating all of us with the reminder that fair housing isn’t just a law—it’s a right that every individual holds. And within this right lies the inherent potential for each person to reach for the stars and for communities to collectively strive towards a future where the power of homeownership and the wealth it encapsulates is accessible to all. Through education, advocacy, and the courage to confront inequities, we are reminded by speakers like Gladys that the door to fair housing can be unlocked for everyone. Are we ready to open it?

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