By Patty Clair
Southeast Michigan should follow the same road as San Francisco and Provincetown. Each re-invented itself as a vibrant gay city after falling into hard economic times. The gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community organized to create gay communities so that they could live openly. LGBT members overwhelmingly target their travel destinations to places that allow them to be safe and accepted.
As a real estate investor, I realize that we in southeastern Michigan are experiencing the same thing as these two cities did. I ask myself: Is it our turn? Will we have the same success as they did? Why are we not further along?
I believe it is our turn. I think we can be just as successful as they were. And yes, we should be further along. The future is for the bold. Those who plan and take decisive action reap the rewards of truly great gay community.
There are several reasons why I think that now is the very best time to organize a community. One thing is the present low interest rates. Couple that with low commercial and residential property prices, then you have the ideal time to seize this bad situation and turn it into a winning opportunity for ourselves. Block after block of empty foreclosed homes makes it easy to remake entire sections of towns. Concentrating on certain areas as gayborhoods will lift their property values, therefore increasing wealth. Experienced investors know to buy when the market is low and then to sell when the market is high.
Remember, no one plan will work for all the communities that make up southeast Michigan. No single town can adequately meet all the needs of the entire region. LGBT members often live and work in the same county. It makes sense that we encourage each county to develop a strategic plan for their own area.
Be mindful that seventy-five percent of the state’s LGBT population is located in the counties that make up southeastern Michigan and we don’t want them to migrate to other states because of our faltering economy or lack of a plan to make a quality gay community. Let’s create our own modern metropolitan gay communities. Whether you’re looking to buy your first home, avoid foreclosure, or interested in becoming a real estate investor, now is the perfect time.
Here are some initial steps to take:
1. Establish gayborhood development meetings to discuss our area of potential development.
2. Use community surveys to better understand what LGBT people need.
3. Have a friendly contest among the counties to see who is really committed to taking action with goals and time tables.
4. Have regular monthly meetings on home buying, small business development, credit repair, home renovation, etc.
We are often described as an invisible market. We tend to blend in, therefore, those businesses wanting to provide us with services have a hard time doing so. It is crucial to do local surveys on what products and services LGBT consumers presently use in order to generate accurate marketing information for future gay business development.
Because we still face discrimination, our development of multiple communities will demonstrate greater strength and visibility which will reduce discrimination. California has definitely shown this to be the case. Like most of you, I don’t want to have to leave Michigan just to have a fulfilling LGBT lifestyle. I want to live and retire here!
We can make it happen. Starting right now, right this minute, let’s challenge each other to create several modern metropolitan gay communities in southeastern Michigan. Ultimately, we want to attract and keep more LGBT people in southeast Michigan by creating jobs and economic development. Let’s make our community strong by working together. I am confident we can make anything happen, once we put our minds to it.
We will be having two upcoming community development meetings in Oakland County. My hope is the other counties will follow soon with their own meetings.
Sponsored by GLBT Real Estate Investors Group, Patty Clair of Sunflower Homes L.L.C., and Tim Lyons and Steve Wood (Sign Company Owners).