Amy Ruzick. Photo by Christi at Grinkie Girls
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance is dedicated to helping more LGBTQ+ folks and allies become homeowners.
Discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation is protected under federal law, allowing legal discrimination in twenty-seven states, which causes barriers for LGBTQ+ folks who are trying to become homeowners, obtain loans, rent, and more. While the national homeownership rate is at 64%, it falls to just 49% among LGBTQ+ individuals.
Everyone should have the opportunity to own a home, and that opportunity should not be limited for LGBTQ+ folks. Because of the work being done by groups like the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, the fight for equitable homeownership is far from over.
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance is a 501c(6) nonprofit organization dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ folks and their allies on their journeys of homeownership and enjoyment. Members of the alliance are realtors, lenders, inspectors, title companies, and many other types of service providers who understand the unique and varied needs of the LGBTQ+ community, who want to increase the percentage of LGBTQ+ folks who are homeowners.
“In short, the alliance is an all-inclusive organization that strives to enhance the lives of the LGBTQ+ community. The alliance has the mission to ‘advocate, elevate, and celebrate,’ ” says Amy Ruzick, realtor and member of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance.
The alliance was formed in 2020 and is open to any community members who can provide services to homeowners. The alliance is also committed to advocacy, which includes fair housing as well as issues such as LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, working toward eliminating currently legal discriminatory practices throughout the country in regards to housing, addressing special senior living needs, and lobbying for political purposes.
“Each local chapter will also have initiatives to support one or more non-profits in their community, and in particular, nonprofits that are focused around housing issues,” Ruzick says.
“Buying and selling real estate is among the most stressful things we do in our lives, as it typically involves our biggest purchases. Being able to go through this process with trusted professionals who are standing up and stating they are ready to help you and will not tolerate discrimination, makes this process less stressful,” Ruzick says.
Realtors of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance are also very well connected to additional resources that you can feel safe having in your home or providing you services without discrimination, Ruzick says. “Being able to communicate freely with your realtor will have a huge impact on how they are able to help you achieve your goals. This open communication is only possible when you trust the person representing you and you know that you are being heard,” she adds. “In addition, it is a powerful feeling to know that you are using your own economic voice to support businesses that value diversity, inclusion, and equity.”
In her own job with NoPlaceLikeHome, Ruzick says one of her favorite things to tell LGBTQ+ folks moving to the Twin Cities is that the LGBTQ+ community is peppered throughout the metro. And, she says, it is not uncommon for allies to fly rainbow flags or have “all are welcome here” signs in their yards or at their place of business to show their support of our community.
“Also, in Minnesota, it is illegal to discriminate in real estate and housing against people due to sexual preference or gender identity. We are lucky—there are 27 States in which the LGBTQ+ community do not have protection under the law in regards to housing discrimination. That is some of what the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance will be focusing on: making sure people are protected under Federal Fair Housing Laws,” Ruzick says.