LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A report by the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law examines challenges facing LGBTQ individuals in accessing affordable and secure housing. Compared to non-LGBTQ individuals, the report finds that those from the LGBTQ community have higher rates of poverty, lower rates of homeownership and higher rates of homelessness. The report also finds that this population faces widespread discrimination in housing, mortgage lending and homeless shelters and services.
“Stigma and discrimination create or exacerbate housing instability for LGBTQ people across their lives — from family rejection of LGBT youth, to discrimination in the rental market and mortgage industry, to harassment at senior living facilities,” said lead author Adam P. Romero, federal policy director, and Arnold D. Kassoy scholar of law at the Williams Institute. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, having safe and stable housing could not be more important. Yet only a minority of states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, lending, and homeless services.”
The current report synthesizes literature on housing and LGBTQ individuals, discusses current laws and policies that provide protection from discrimination, conducts original data analysis and identifies gaps in knowledge that researchers and governmental data systems should address. Key findings include:
Housing Affordability — More than one in five (21.6 percent) LGBTQ adults in the United States are living in poverty, compared to 15.7 percent of cisgender straight adults, according to a 2019 report by the Williams Institute. That same report found that, among LGBTQ individuals, poverty is especially prevalent among racial minorities, bisexual people, women, transgender people, and younger people.
Homeownership — Although 70.1 percent of non-LGBTQ adults own their own homes, that number is just under half (49.8 percent) for LGBTQ adults, according to Williams Institute analyses. Other Williams Institute studies have found that homeownership is even lower among LGBTQ racial minorities and transgender people. Same-sex couples are less likely to own their homes than different-sex couples (63.8 percent and 75.1 percent, respectively). Married same-sex couples are less likely to own their homes than married different-sex couples (72 percent and 79.4 percent, respectively). A variety of studies find that LGBTQ individuals face discrimination when trying to rent apartments and secure mortgages, among other discrimination experiences related to housing.
Homelessness — Studies find that between 20 percent and 45 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, approximately 2 to 4 times more than the estimated percentage of all youth who identify as LGBTQ. Among young adults aged 18-25, LGBTQ individuals have a 2.2 times greater risk of homelessness than non-LGBT people, according to a 2018 study from the University of Chicago. Studies find that LGBT youth and adults, especially transgender people, face barriers to accessing homeless shelters and services.
The report was funded by Wells Fargo.