Almost one in five LGB adults in the US has experienced homelessness at some point in their lives.
Moreover, trans people are even more likely to be homeless.
That’s according to a new national study by the respected LGBT+ research organization, the Williams Institute.
It shows that homelessness does not only affect LGBT+ young people but also hits LGBT+ adults hard.
Furthermore, it shows African American lesbian, gay and bi people are three times more likely to be homeless than white lesbians, gays and bisexuals.
The Williams Institute reports that 17% of LGB adults in the US have been homeless at some point in their lives.
This includes people who have slept rough on the streets, in shelters, in a car and ‘couch or sofa surfing’ as well as other unstable temporary housing.
By contrast, just 6% of the general population in the US have been homeless.
Trans and African Americans more vulnerable still
The researchers also discovered that trans people were most likely to be immediately suffering homelessness.
Approximately 8% of transgender adults said they had been homelessness in the last 12 months. That compares to just 3% of non-trans LGB people and only 1% of cisgender, straight adults.
Over the same period, African American lesbian, gay and bisexual people were also far more likely to have been homeless. 6% were homeless in the last year, contrasting with 3% of Latinx and 2% of white LGB adults.
Researchers already knew that LGBT+ young people are far more likely to be homeless than straight, cisgender youths.
Previous studies have found that LGBT+ young people make up a huge chunk of youth homeless figures. The number is typically put at between 22% and 40% of the total.
But the new study discovered that bouts of homelessness continue into adulthood for LGBT+ people.
Of those who have been homeless, 71% experienced it for the first time as an adult, compared to 20% who were homeless before the age of 18. Another 9% had been homeless both as a young person and an adult.
Chasten Buttigieg recently shared his story of being homeless as a teen. He said: ‘I remember being 17, sleeping in the back of my car feeling like nobody believed in me and that there was never going to be a future for me.’
‘COVID-19 will likely make the problem worse’
The Williams Institute says its alarming findings are the first to use nationally representative figures to estimate adult LGBT+ homelessness rates. That makes its new report far more accurate than previous studies.
Moreover, lead author Bianca DM Wilson, senior scholar of public policy at the Williams Institute, warned:
‘It is important to note that the data on housing instability and homelessness were collected prior to the pandemic.
‘The multi-tiered economic and health effects of COVID-19 will likely make the problem worse for LGBT people and could increase their vulnerability to the virus.’