For Pride, continue the fight against LGBTQIA+ homelessness

June 7, 2023
by Gabe Hafemann

It’s Pride month! June is the month we celebrate the strength, resilience, and resourcefulness of the LGBTQIA+ community. We mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising – the 1969 dawn of the modern LGBTQIA+ rights movement. This uprising was a gathering of LGBTQIA+ people to protect our rights to occupy public space. Now, in 2023, the Human Rights Campaign has declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQIA+ people. This year, we acknowledge the gravity of that declaration and of the more than 500 bills that have been introduced nationwide targeting transgender people specifically. Pride Month is also a time to examine how and why oppression and poverty disproportionately impact LGBTQIA+ individuals, in particular for transgender people who face an escalating erosion of their rights. We also celebrate and honor the transgender leaders who have broken new ground on poverty issues for decades.  

Transgender people face homelessness at more than twice the rate of cisgender (non-transgender) people, and LGBTQIA+ people overall faced higher rates of poverty than heterosexual and cisgender people. There’s variation, however, based on race and income. While recent laws and policies have formally banned discrimination based on gender and gender identity on the federal level, the current political climate and negative social attitudes toward LGBTQIA+ people have further marginalized them. One in five transgender people have faced discrimination when seeking a home, and more than one in ten have been evicted for their gender identity. That’s only among adults. It does not begin to address the deep issue of LGBTQIA+ youth homelessness. Despite anti-discrimination laws, shelters and other forms of supportive or emergency housing do not always provide safe environments for LGBTQIA+ people. Transgender people are disproportionately harassed or turned away from shelters entirely

Even when LGBQIA+ and transgender people do choose to pursue traditional housing assistance programs, securing it can be a challenge. Waitlists can be almost a decade long. Beyond the barriers that affect anyone who’d want to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher program, transgender people face social and administrative barriers. Many transgender people may not look like the photo on the legal ID they’re required to show to program administrators or may use a different name than the one on their documents. What’s more, hostile attitudes against transgender people have a chilling effect on their pursuit of public welfare programs out of concern for their safety. Between red tape, poverty, hostility, and illegal discrimination, LGBTQIA+ people have, on average, fewer housing options and less power in the housing market. 

For these reasons, transgender people have been fighting for housing security for decades. We can look at figures like Sylvia Rivera, a famed participant in the Stonewall Uprising, who established housing programs for transgender people. Her legacy lives on today in efforts all over the country. At RESULTS, we honor and continue that fight by advocating for a federal Renter Tax Credit. A tax credit could help mitigate some discrimination issues because filers do not have to present themselves in person to receive it (but rather obtain it through filing each year). Tax credits tackle the multipronged issues of discrimination, poverty, and homelessness by enabling people to use a simple, streamlined program to receive a subsidy for the rent they already have to pay and putting cash directly in their hand with few strings attached. A Renter Tax Credit enables people to find housing that works for them – places that are safe, accepting, and affordable. 

This Pride month, we celebrate efforts to cultivate real, tangible ways for LGBTQIA+ people to thrive and hope you’ll join us in this effort year-round. Follow this link to get involved!


Gabe Hafemann (they/them) is a current Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow with the Congressional Hunger Center. Originally, they come from La Crosse, WI but have called Minneapolis, MN home since 2017. 

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