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Members of the Eastern Bergen County Board of REALTORS® (EBCBOR) gathered to hear from six industry experts as they discussed Housing Discrimination, the LGBT Community, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Equal Access Rule at the Fair Housing Symposium yesterday.

EBCBOR Chief Executive Officer, Laura Rubinfeld said, “This month marks the 46th anniversary of the 1968 landmark Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap.” Rubinfeld continued, “ Each year REALTORS® recognize the significance of this event and reconfirm our commitment to upholding fair housing laws and offering equal professional service to all.”

Tanya Reu, Senior VP Human Resources of Realogy delivered the keynote address highlighting the growth potential of the LGBT population in the real estate market. Reu explained that currently 3.7 percent of N.J.’s population is self-described as LGBT and the purchasing power of this consumer base in the U.S overall is projected to be $835 billion.

Keith Price, Co-Host of the “Morning Jolt” on Sirius XM’s OutQ, moderated the Symposium’s panel that featured Dr. King W. Mott, Seton Hall University Professor or Political Science and Gender Studies; Balenda L. Nelson, Equal Opportunity Specialist with HUD Newark; Angela Calzone, Senior VP of Talent Resources & Organization Development of MWW Group; and Real Estate Attorney, Melissa Suarez, Esq. of M.Suarez LLC.

EBCBOR 2014 President Bowen Pak, Broker of Eastern International Realty said, “As REALTORS® we view Fair Housing practices as constructive means of promoting equal opportunity to all in their pursuit of the American dream of homeownership and access to private property.” He continued, “We believe equal opportunity exists only where there is complete freedom of choice in housing.”

The discussions focused on various legal and social connotations that are important to effectively assisting LGBT clients. Dr. Mott described the historical background and evolution of the process of the integration of the LGBT community. Mott stressed that one of the areas of utmost concern for this demographic is safety and security. When defining what attracts LGBT consumers to a particular market Angela Calzone said, “No one wants to be tolerated, everyone wants to be accepted and this is certainly the case for LGBT consumers seeking to be homeowners.”

The association’s Equal Opportunity and Cultural Diversity Committee organizes a variety of annual workshops, seminars and special events focusing on the issues of fair housing and diversity. EBCBOR appreciates how important the principles of Fair Housing are to REALTORS® in their role in the ongoing effort of improving the quality of neighborhoods and communities in the local market.

The Eastern Bergen County Board of REALTORS® (EBCBOR), chartered in 1923, is a not-for-profit trade organization that serves more than 3,000 REALTOR® members in Bergen County, N.J. EBCBOR is dedicated to enhancing the business opportunities of its membership by providing them with industry information, political advocacy and education opportunities.

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