Research is increasingly clear that safe, stable, accessible, and affordable housing is a critical driver of positive outcomes in many areas of life, but such housing is much less assured for the LGBTQIA+ community. 

“Homophobic and transphobic housing discrimination as well as discrimination in other areas such as employment opportunities have left LGBTQ people with lower homeownership rates, higher poverty rates, and greater risk of experiencing homelessness compared to non-LGBTQ people (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 2022).”

  • LGBTQIA+ adults are at least 15% more likely to live in poverty than cisgender straight adults. Among LGBTQIA+ people, poverty is more common among people of color, transgender people, and younger people (Williams Institute, 2020).
  • 34% of LGBTQIA+ respondents to a 2022 Center for American Progress (CAP) national survey reported an annual household income of less than $30,000 compared to non-LGBTQIA+. Additionally, 39% of LGBTQIA+ disabled respondents, 40% of respondents of color, and 43% of transgender and nonbinary respondents reported an annual income of below 30% (Center for American Progress, 2022).
  • The nondiscrimination statutes that exist in most states do not explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. Of the estimated 11 million LGBTQIA+ adults in the U.S. in 2020, 5.4 million lived in states without statutes that prohibit LGBTQIA+ discrimination in housing (Williams Institute, 2020).
  • The CAP national survey of LGBTQIA+ adults found that 29% of respondents, including 41% respondents of color and 46% transgender respondents, reported some form of harassment or discrimination in a housing setting within the past year based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status. The most common experience reported was physical, verbal, or sexual harassment from neighbors or members of their own households (Center for American Progress, 2022).
  • 15% of respondents to the 2022 CAP national survey reported being “prevented or discouraged from renting or buying a home,” and 12% of respondents reported “physical, verbal, or sexual harassment” from a landlord. Transgender people, LGBTQIA+ people of color and LGBTQIA+ people with disabilities reported experiencing these forms of harassment and discrimination at elevated rates (Center for American Progress, 2022).
  • A Department of Housing and Urban Development study found that different sex couples were favored over similarly situated same-sex couples in 15% of tests (HUD, 2013); one paired testing study conducted in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles metro areas found that housing providers told gay men about one less available rental unit for every 4.2 tests than they told straight men, and told transgender testers about less available rental units than cisgender testers (Urban Institute, 2017).
  • Rates of discrimination are even more pronounced for LGBTQ people who also have other marginalized identities. Older LGBTQ couples, especially older lesbian couples, experience higher rates of poverty (9.1%) than older heterosexual couples (4.6%) (Center for American Progress, 2009). In addition, LGBTQ older adults face discrimination in the sale and rental of housing, and in mortgage lending, which adversely impacts access to housing. One study found that 48% of older same sex couples applying for senior housing were subjected to discrimination (The Equal Rights Center, 2014). 
  • LGBTQIA+ households make up about 15% of all renter households, and about 12% of HUD-assisted renter households. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 Household Pulse Survey, nearly 30% of Black LGBTQIA+ households reported being behind on rent, compared with 9.7% of white LGBTQIA+ households (HUD, 2022).
  • The 2022 CAP survey found that a significant number of LGBTQIA+ people report facing challenges to accessing housing services. 41% of LGBTQIA+ respondents reported that it would be “very difficult” or “not possible” to find an alternative apartment rental if their current service provider denied them service. 61% of transgender or nonbinary respondents reported that it would be difficult or impossible to access an alternative homeless shelter should they need to (Center for American Progress, 2022).
  • Transgender and nonbinary people face a wide array of unique barriers to housing related services, which put them at a greater risk of experiencing housing instability. These barriers are even more pronounced for transgender and nonbinary people of color (Urban Institute, 2022).
  • The 2022 U.S. Transgender Survey, the largest survey to date examining the experiences of binary and nonbinary transgender people in the country, revealed that 30% of respondents had experienced homelessness at some point in their life (National Center for Transgender Equality).
  • LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults are 120% more likely than their heterosexual and cisgender peers to experience homelessness, which can significantly impede their economic mobility, educational achievement, and physical and mental health. In fact, 40% of all homeless youth identify as LGBTQIA+. Nearly one-third of transgender and gender non-binary (TNB) people have experienced homelessness in their lifetime; rates of homelessness are even higher among TNB people who are also living with a disability or identify as people of color (True Colors United and the National LGBTQ Task Force, 2019).
  • Data from The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 28% of LGBTQIA+ respondents reported experiencing housing instability or homelessness at some time in their lives (The Trevor Project, 2022).
    • Out of all LGBTQIA+ respondents, 44% of Native/Indigenous youth, 27% Latinx youth, 26% Black youth, and 36% multiracial youth have experienced housing instability of homelessness.
    • LGBTQIA+ youth who experienced housing instability or homelessness had higher rates of victimization and food insecurity compared to their stably housed peers.
  • Full funding of federal housing programs can protect LGBTQIA+ renters. Expansion of the Housing Choice Voucher Program would reduce hardship in securing safe, stable housing for all renters, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2022).