Two groups to collaborate in quest to eliminate housing discrimination based on sexual orientation
November 5, 2020
Two groups plan to combine forces to cross-promote Fair Housing initiatives and related concerns, according to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) they signed in early September.
The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), established in 1988, and the newly launched LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance pledged to collaborate to "rid the nation of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity" and to "ensure everyone has access to housing free from discrimination."
The agreement - the first MOU signed by the Real Estate Alliance - unites the organizations to promote fair housing, educate each group's members and the general public about the fair housing rights and responsibilities of the LGBTQ+ community, provide fair housing training to LGBTQ+ RE members, and collaborate in the fight to expand fair housing protections for all within the LGBTQ+ community. They will also collaborate to showcase instances of housing discrimination.
Ryan Weyandt, CEO of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, expects the partnership with NFHA will allow the groups to work collaboratively "and hopefully get us to a much better place as a community. So many are stunned to learn that the LGBTQ+ community does not have the full breadth of protections at the federal level under our nation's fair housing and fair lending laws," he remarked.
"While our industry, led by the National Association of Realtors®, has been proactive in working with our community in the fight for housing equality, we have a long way to go," stated Weyandt, a veteran mortgage lender. Only 27 states (including Washington) and Washington, D.C. have explicit local laws to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
About 4.5% of the U.S. population identifies as LGBTQ or an estimated 11 million people, of which 88% are employed, according to a 2018 report by MAP and the National LGBTQ Workers Center.
"The National Fair Housing Alliance is thrilled about partnering with the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance to advance fair housing, particularly at a time when civil rights are under attack and key tools for strengthening equity are being systematically eviscerated," said Lisa Rice, president and CEO of NFHA. As part of the agreement, her organization will have a seat on the Alliance's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, the LGBTQ+ Mortgage Advisory Council, and the Sponsor Advisory Board.
Rice noted the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently passed its harmful Disparate Impact rule that will gut civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ people and members of other vulnerable communities, making it exceedingly harder to challenge systemic discrimination by housing providers. "We must fight back, and our new partnership with the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance will give us another avenue through which to do just that," she proclaimed.
About the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance is a 501(c)6 nonprofit dedicated to empowering the LBGTQ+ community on the path to homeownership. It also advocates on behalf of the community on housing issues and real estate policy.
Founded in June 2020, the all-inclusive organization works to improve the professional lives of its members through a public-facing Alliance Referral Community. Its formation resulted from a conflict with leadership of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals. Since the Alliance began accepting members in October 2020, it has grown to more than 50 chapters in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
According to its website, the LGBTQ homeownership rate is 49%, well below the 64% rate for the general population. The community has an annual purchase power of nearly $1 trillion in the U.S. The site also indicates fear of any type of discrimination n the future home buying process is a concern for 46% of renters.
About the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA)
NFHA is a consortium of more than 200 private, nonprofit fair housing organizations and state and local civil rights agencies from throughout the U.S. Founded in 1988 with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the organization works to eliminate housing discrimination and ensure equal housing opportunity for all people through leadership, education, outreach, membership services, public policy initiative, community development, advocacy, and enforcement.
NFHA estimates there are more than 4 million acts of discrimination in the U.S. each year. It has three membership levels, including tax-deductible individual memberships, along with Fair Housing Agencies (operating members) and Housing/Advocate Agencies (supporting members).
Operating members in Washington include the Fair Housing Center of Washington in Tacoma and the Northwest Fair Housing Alliance in Spokane. The City of Seattle's Office for Civil Rights Enforcement is a supporting member.