2019 LGBT Housing Policy Summit

 In NAGLREP Media

With record attendance, NAGLREP hosted its third annual LGBT Housing Policy Summit held last week at the Human Rights Campaign Equality Center in Washington, D.C. NAGLREP members joined leaders from the real estate industry and LGBT community to take a deep dive into a variety of housing issues along with the recently reintroduced Equality Act, which if passed would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit and the jury system.

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) focused his Keynote address on the importance of the Equality Act along with highlighting his former legal career as a leader in fair housing issues. After indicating that religious freedom is the main argument against the Equality Act, Senator Kaine surprised attendees when he shared his belief that if the bill gets through the House and Senate, President Trump would sign it into law.

David Stacy, HRC’s Government Affairs Director, explained that the Equality Act, formally identified as H.R. 5 (the low number indicates its importance to the House), is progressing quickly through hearings. He expects it will soon come to vote in the House with a strong likelihood of passing. This would be the first time the Equality Act, which was first introduced in 1974 and again in 2015 and 2017, would advance to a vote.

He explained that 70% of the U.S. population supports the bill and its focus on outlawing discrimination against LGBTs while nearly 200 major firms and more than 40 major associations have publicly supported it. He praised NAGLREP members for their work in showcasing the importance of the bill within the real estate industry.

The National Association of REALTORS was one of those associations to publicly support the Equality Act and Chief Lobbyist Shannon McGahn joined the Housing Policy Summit to explain the Equality Act is the next step in NARs long standing support of the LGBT community.

The need for the Equality Act came to light when NAGLREP Founder Jeff Berger joined Freddie Mac’s Angie Wilen to unveil the findings of the NAGLREP LGBT Real Estate Report which identified how housing discrimination is helping keep LGBT homeownership rates 16% below the national average. They shared that nearly 50% of NAGLREP members believe LGBT homeownership rates will rise at least 5% within five years of the Equality Act passing.

The LGBT Housing Policy Summit began with an emotional presentation by NAGLREP San Antonio chapter President and transgender activist Jamie Zapata. With tears in her eyes, Jamie explained how hard her 1980s childhood was as she was not permitted to attend high school as female. After dropping out, being bullied at several jobs, fired from all for being a “distraction,” she found a home in real estate last year. She was thrilled to share that she is one of three transgender agents at Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper in San Antonio.

It was clear NAGLREP and the LGBT community is gaining record levels of support within the real estate industry. Along with leaders from Realogy, HSF Affiliates and RE/MAX sharing how their organizations continue to evolve, speakers from mortgage powers including event sponsor Wells Fargo, Bank of America, SunTrust, Quicken Loans and US Bank identified the importance of educating the LGBT community.

The event ended with the annual visit to Capitol Hill where attendees enjoyed a panel headlined by Aliya Bean of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus before meeting with their specific Houses members.

The LGBT Housing Policy Summit was a smashing success and hopefully we will soon of a lot to celebrate with the Equality Act!