HUD to enforce protections from LGBT discrimination in housing, lending, and homeless shelters

Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that it will begin enforcing the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Williams Institute research shows that LGBT people face widespread discrimination in housing, mortgage lending, and homeless shelters and services. LGBT people have higher rates of poverty, lower rates of homeownership, and higher rates of homelessness.

“Stigma and discrimination create or exacerbate housing instability for LGBT people,” said Christy Mallory, Legal Director at the Williams Institute. “Having safe and stable housing is vital during the COVID-19 pandemic, and HUD’s action will help to ensure that LGBT people don’t lose housing because of who they are.”

Williams Institute research finds

  • An analysis of data found that 15% of LGB people report being prevented from moving into or buying a house compared to 6% of heterosexual people.
  • LGBT adults are more likely to be renters than non-LGBT adults: An estimated 50% of LGBT adults own their own homes compared to 70% of non-LGBT adults. Homeownership is even lower among LGBT racial minorities and transgender people.
  • Same-sex couples are less likely to own their homes than different-sex couples (64% and 75%, respectively).
  • 17% of LGB adults and 30% of transgender adults have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, compared to 6% of the general population.
  • 8% of transgender adults report experiencing homelessness in the past year, compared to 3% of non-transgender LGB people and 1% of cisgender, heterosexual adults.
  • Nearly 30% of transgender respondents to the U.S. Transgender Survey who experienced homelessness reported being denied shelter due to their transgender status or gender expression. Approximately 44% reported mistreatment at a shelter, including harassment, assault, or requirements to dress or present as the wrong gender.
  • Transgender people who reported that they had been denied equal treatment in the past year because they are transgender were more than twice as likely to attempt suicide than those who had not been denied equal treatment (13% compared to 6%).
  • LGBTQ youth make up 22% of homeless youth.
  • 26 states have laws that prohibit housing discrimination based on sex but do not expressly cover both sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • 22% of LGBT adults live in poverty in the U.S. compared to 16% of non-LGBT people.
February 11, 2021

Media Contact: Rachel Dowd
Office: 310-206-8982

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