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Housing & the LGBTQ+ Community

Adrienne Spinner, Director of Strategic Partnerships

As part of our mission to build a coalition that prioritizes housing advocacy across the state, NCHC works to build relationships with advocates across a variety of sectors. To honor Pride Month, we will highlight how the issue of affordable housing affects the LGBTQ+ community.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people face significant levels of discrimination in housing, which can take a variety of forms. LGBTQ+ people are at risk of being denied, charged higher rates for, or removed from housing.

A 2013 study by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) showed that same-sex couples experience significant levels of discrimination when responding to advertised rental housing in metropolitan areas across the country – heterosexual couples were favored over same-sex couples by sixteen percent. For transgender people, housing discrimination is even more prevalent, with nearly one quarter of transgender people reporting to have experienced housing discrimination within the past year because of their gender identity.

During the Obama Administration, HUD began taking administrative actions to protect LGBTQ+ peoples’ equal access to HUD-assisted housing. These regulations around equal access have been tracked by our national partner, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). 

In 2021, a memorandum issued by HUD stated that discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity are now considered types of “sex” discrimination prohibited by the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA). This would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people in housing by adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected characteristics under the FHA. The FHA also clarifies existing law to ensure that housing protections apply to anyone who experiences discrimination because they are perceived as or associate with someone of a different race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, familial status, or national origin.

There are several ways LGBTQIA+ individuals may experience discrimination that violates the FHA, including:

  • Refusal to lease or show housing based on sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Steering based on sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Unequal Terms and Conditions based on sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity

HUD now has resources to educate providers, tenants, and advocates on fair housing protections to advance housing equity for LGBTQ+ individuals.

The Fair Housing Toolkit serves to: 

  • Provide an overview of key fair housing laws, regulations, and executive orders related to LGBTQIA+ protections
  • Describe the specific protected housing rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals
  • Introduce housing providers to culturally competent definitions and terminology used when discussing sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Provide information on the ways housing providers can prevent housing discrimination in their daily operations
  • Provide detailed information on how and when an individual can report housing discrimination

Like much of the country, North Carolina still has a long way to go to provide equitable housing policies and practices for the LGBTQ+ community. A notable advancement occurred in 2021, when local ordinances in several municipalities were passed, which prohibited discrimination in housing, public accommodations and employment based on LGBTQ+ status.

Advocacy across the state has also grown to assist individuals and communities in seeking resources. UNC Law provides a list of legal resources for those needing help navigating laws that affect LGBTQ+ people. NCHC continues to advocate for policies that allow equal access to affordable housing for all North Carolinians, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation.

If you are interested in becoming a Coalition partner or engaging more with us, contact our Director of Strategic Partnerships at

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