Metro Weekly

Nearly 1 in 10 LGBTQ people fear they’ll be evicted within the next two months, survey finds

Nearly 1 in 5 LGBTQ people say they're behind in rent, primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

lgbtq, rent
Photo: Igal Ness, via Unsplash.

Nearly 1 in 5 LGBTQ people say they’re behind on rent, and nearly 1 in 10 fear they’ll be evicted within the next two months, according to a new survey.

The survey, conducted by the Williams Institute, an LGBTQ think tank at the UCLA School of Law, found that 19% of LGBTQ respondents said they were behind on rent payments, compared to 14% of non-LGBTQ respondents.

Breaking those numbers down by race, 30% of LGBTQ people of color say they’re behind on rent, while only 1o% of LGBTQ white people say the same. 

One of the factors contributing to fears about housing instability is whether a person owns their home (either by purchasing it in cash or paying via monthly mortgage payments) or rents, which tends to exacerbate a person’s level of insecurity. The other factor is an individual’s personal financial situation, including the frequency with which they are paid.

In total, a higher percentage of the LGBTQ community rents their residence than owns. Forty-one percent of LGBTQ people are renters, compared with 25% of non-LGBTQ people. People of color are also less likely to own their homes, with 47%  of LGBTQ people of color renting, and 36% of non-LGBTQ people of color renting, compared to 37% of white LGBTQ people and 19% of white non-LGBTQ people.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, as of July 5, approximately 3.6 million Americans fear facing eviction within the next two months. As of August 10, about 3.4 million Americans are unemployed. Additionally, nearly half of American workers don’t earn enough money to afford monthly rent in a one-bedroom apartment.

That survey also found that nearly 20% of LGBTQ people had experienced a loss of income during the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to 17% of non-LGBTQ people. Additionally, over one-third of LGBTQ adults reported being in a household that had difficulty paying for usual expenses.

When it comes to ability to pay rent going forward, researchers found that 18% of LGBTQ people of color reported having “no confidence” in their ability to pay next month’s rent, compared with 15% of non-LGBTQ people of color. Meanwhile, 8% of LGBTQ white people report uncertainty about paying rent next month, compared to 6% of non-LGBTQ white people.

Given the high proportion of renters in the LGBTQ community, fears over eviction are understandably higher, especially during the shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those fears may be heightened following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to block a nationwide moratorium on evictions two weeks ago. 

Of LGBTQ respondents to the Williams Institute survey, nearly half, or 47%, of those who are behind on rent said they feared being evicted in the next two months — nearly identical to the 46% of similarly-situated non-LGBTQ. Breaking down by race, 51% of LGBTQ people of color fear being evicted within the next two months, compared with 38% of LGBTQ white people. 

See also:

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Chicago Pride Parade canceled for second year, organizers blame vaccine skeptics

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