HomeServices of America affiliates Berkshire Hathaway Home Services and Real Living Real Estate have joined the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance as corporate partners, according to a joint announcement on Tuesday.
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance was formed in July 2020 after the fallout between the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) members and founder Jeff Berger. Since October, the Alliance has announced nine partnerships with real estate powerhouses such as Realogy, Engel & Völkers and Ohio Realtors to advocate for fair housing, diversity and inclusion for LGBTQ+ consumers and professionals.
“Teresa [Palacios Smith], Gino [Belfari], Chris [Stuart] and Allan [Dalton] have been extremely supportive of The Alliance behind the scenes for months and we recognize how today’s announcement further propels us forward,” LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance Ryan Weyandt said. “They have been strong allies of our community and recognize how much more we can accomplish together to further expose the emotional and financial benefits of homeownership to the LGBTQ+ community.”
“Along with our advocacy and member business development work, they are eager to help The Alliance showcase our industry to those within the LGBTQ+ community who may be looking for a career change and who have the entrepreneurial spirit that might allow them to thrive in real estate,” Weyandt added.
As a Champion corporate sponsor, HomeServices of America CEO Gino Belfari will represent affiliates BHHS and Real Living Real Estate at Alliance events, such as an upcoming national conference and national policy symposium.
Meanwhile, HomeServices of America Equity and Inclusion Officer Teresa Palacios Smith will become a member of the Alliance’s sponsor advisory board, which is responsible for providing feedback and insight on current and future initiatives.
“This is an important step for us in continuing our support of the LGBTQ+ community,” Palacios Smith said. “We want to help remove the barriers the LGBTQ+ community faces in the journey to homeownership including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“We are working hard to help our employees, affiliated agents and franchise network members recognize how unconscious bias impacts behavior and how we can better serve the LGBTQ+ community,” she added. “We have a unique opportunity to utilize our market presence to allow LGBTQ+ agents to flourish while also attracting more from the community into our industry.”
Weyandt said all corporate sponsors have signed a one-year contract, which can be extended. He also revealed the Alliance is on the hunt for more sponsors and partners as the organization dives into the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in real estate, as evidenced by the Alliance’s fair housing advocacy work.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion command more attention than ever in the industry,” he said in an emailed statement to Inman. “The Alliance works with trend-setting brokerages right now, but we will collaborate with anyone who wants to turn their sales network into allies of the LGBTQ community.”