Keller Williams is the latest real estate brokerage to partner with the new LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance and to join in the organization’s many efforts centered on inclusion, including pledging to help expand fair housing laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes.
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance launched in October as a member-based organization and currently has more than 50 chapters across the country. The organization advocates on behalf of LGBTQ+ home buyers and sellers. It is a newer organization but has a similar mission to the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals, which was started in 2007 and also advocates for greater inclusion in housing.
Keller Williams’ partnership with the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance will allow it to become one of the organization’s founding partners, along with other companies like EXIT Realty, HomeServices of America, RESAAS, and more.
KW has shown a long commitment to building LGBTQ+ resources that support diversity and inclusion. In February 2004, the brokerage founded the KW Rainbow Network, an independent, not-for-profit membership organization of about 1,500 members that offers educational, advocacy, and networking opportunities.
“Keller Williams partnering with The Alliance is important because it’s a public statement the brand stands against discrimination, bigotry, and hate,” said Dave Gervase, a KW real estate pro in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and KW Rainbow Network member and Alliance board member.
The partnership also will provide KW a seat on the sponsor advisory board, the opportunity to share LGBTQ+ unconscious bias training to its agent network, and collaboration on leadership programs to further awareness of how housing discrimination impacts the LGBTQ+ population.
The LGBTQ+ homeownership rate stands at about 49%, which is below the overall U.S. general population’s homeownership rate of 64%, according to Freddie Mac data. The LGTBQ+ community is not protected by fair housing laws at the federal level or in 27 states. The National Association of REALTORS®, however, amended its Code of Ethics in 2011 to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and to then include gender identity in 2013.
“The leadership at KW has joined The Alliance with a pledge to help us expand Fair Housing laws to expand sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes, which will help us increase our community’s access to homeownership,” Alliance CEO Ryan Weyandt said in a statement.