LGBT housing & homelessness take center stage

The White House continued its series of dialogues with the LGBT community today with an event in Detroit, Mich., focusing on housing and homelessness.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announces HUD's new LGBT rule at Creating Change.

The event was keynoted by U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, who recently spoke at our National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, where he announced groundbreaking protections for LGBT people and their families in HUD-funded programs. Those protections took effect this week.

In a story about the White House event, findings from our study, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness, were cited by the Washington Post:

LGBT young people represent a dramatically high proportion of an estimated 600,000 or more homeless youths across the country — between 20 percent and 40 percent, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute.

The Associated Press also cited our study in a related story.

Jaime Grant, former director of the Task Force’s Policy Institute, was in Detroit today talking about findings of yet another groundbreaking report from the Task Force, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

The survey, co-authored with the National Center for Transgender Equality, showed that housing discrimination was very common among transgender and gender non-conforming respondents: 19 percent reported being refused a home or apartment and 11 percent reported being evicted because of their gender identity or expression. One in five respondents experienced homelessness because of their gender identity or expression.

In addition to Donovan, several other high-ranking officials from HUD and HHS attended today’s White House LGBT Conference on Housing & Homelessness. The new HUD rule marks another victory for the New Beginning Initiative, a coalition of more than two dozen organizations convened by the Task Force that is working to change how the federal government treats LGBT people and their families.

At Creating Change, Donovan said:

Thanks to your leadership in convening the New Beginning Initiative, together we have made extraordinary progress, creating changes throughout the administration that have improved the day-to-day lives of LGBT people across the country.

Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey noted the critical importance of the HUD rule for LGBT people and their families:

This policy announced by Secretary Donovan will literally save lives. LGBT people and their families all across the country depend on HUD programs to have a roof over their head. Unfortunately, there are landlords out there who would choose to discriminate, putting families in peril. These housing protections will reduce homelessness and increase economic security for LGBT people, which helps break the cycle of poverty that many families experience due to discrimination.