Homelessness, Reports and Publications, Supportive Housing

New Study Examines Transgender Women Barriers to Shelter

Center for American and Equal Rights Center

On January 2016, the Center for American Progress and Equal Rights Center (ERC) released the findings of their study on the extent to which individuals who self-identified as transgender women are discriminated against while attempting to access shelter.

Data was collected from 100 homeless shelters in four states - Connecticut, Washington, Tennessee, and Virginia - indicates that only 30 shelters were willing to house transgender women with other women, 21 refused to accept transgender women into their program, 13 offered to either isolate or house them with men. Furthermore, states without gender identity nondiscrimination protections were more likely to refuse shelter to a transgender person than states with protections. In addition, women shelters were less like to refuse shelter to transgender than mixed gender shelters.

The study provided some recommendations on how to address the need of transgender individuals seeking public assistance. These includes:

  • Passage of the Equality Act to protect LGBT individuals from discrimination.
  • Guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that clarifies people should be housed based on their gender identity.
  • Modification of the Equal Access Rule to provide shelters with the ability to discuss sexual orientation and gender identity with a client.

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