Beyond the Rainbow: The Realities of LGBTQIA+ Food and Housing Insecurity


Happy Pride! June is Pride Month, dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community and honoring the progress made towards equality and acceptance. Pride originated from the Stonewall riots of June 1969. These were spontaneous demonstrations by LGBTQIA+ community members in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. These riots marked a turning point in the LGBTQIA+ rights movement. They galvanized activism and led to the formation of numerous advocacy groups. Over the decades, Pride Month has grown into an international celebration. It now includes parades, festivals, and events promoting LGBTQIA+ visibility and rights.

This month also reminds us of the ongoing struggle for LGBTQIA+ rights. It highlights the importance of solidarity and visibility. Amidst the celebrations, it’s crucial to reflect on the persistent challenges faced by the queer community. Disproportionate rates of hunger and homelessness are key issues. These issues underscore the broader socioeconomic disparities that continue to affect LGBTQIA+ individuals, making it essential to address and support their needs comprehensively.

The Issue, at a glance

Despite strides in LGBTQIA+ rights, significant disparities persist in essential areas like food and housing security. According to a 2021 study by the Human Rights Campaign, LGBTQIA+ individuals are twice as likely to experience homelessness compared to their heterosexual, cisgender counterparts. A 2020 study from the Williams Institute supports this, finding that 17% of sexual minority adults report lifetime homelessness, and less than 50% of LGBTQIA+ adults own homes compared to 70% of heterosexual, cisgender adults Furthermore, disparities in homeownership are pronounced among LGBTQIA+ racial minorities and transgender individuals.

LGBTQIA+ youth are particularly vulnerable; up to 40% of homeless youth identifying as LGBTQIA+. This can stem for a lack of support at home and a refusal to house a member of the LGBTQ+ community. However, discrimination exists in the housing market as well. Refusal to rent or sell to same-sex couples, realtors refusing to show houses to transgender individuals, and rejections same-sex partners in leases all occur. These discriminatory practices exacerbate housing insecurity within the LGBTQIA+ community.

Similarly, food insecurity is prevalent among LGBTQIA+ individuals. The fact that LGBTQ+ individuals are twice as likely to receive SNAP benefits reflects this disparity. A 2021 revealed 13% of LGBTQIA+ adults report insufficient food at home, almost double non-LGBTQIA+ adults. Additionally, a 2019 study by the Oregon Food Bank revealed that 27% of LGBTQIA+ individuals reported insufficient funds for food within the past year. This is 10% higher compared to 17% of their straight or cisgender counterparts. Additionally, over 22% of LGBTQIA+ adults live in poverty, making them twice as likely as the general population to experience hunger. Economic challenges, including workplace discrimination, contribute to this disparity. Nearly 50% of LGBTQ+ individuals remain closeted at work out of fear of negative treatment or professional repercussions.

Despite these challenges, LGBTQIA+ individuals are less likely to seek assistance from food banks due to fear of rejection or discrimination. Approximately 14% avoid faith-based food pantries, further highlighting the barriers faced by the community in accessing essential resources.

Although the above information merely grazes the surface of the issue, we hope it’s sufficient to illuminate the necessity of dialogue around it.

Our Mission

Unfortunately, accessing housing support and food pantries is not always free from discrimination. The reality that many have faced rejection or prejudice when seeking assistance roots this apprehension. With that in mind, Bucks County Housing Group is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment, offering services without discrimination based on gender, sexual identity, or any other identity features. Our goal is that everyone can access the help they need, such as housing initiatives—supportive housing, rapid rehousing, and housing counseling—and food programs — pantries, mobile markets, and community gardens — without fear of bias or exclusion. Join us in creating a community where everyone feels safe and supported. Help ensure that all can access the resources they need to thrive.



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Written By: Dominic DiFrancesco

The Disproportionate Impact of Food and Housing Insecurity on the LGBTQIA+ Community 

June is National Pride Month, a time to celebrate all colors of love and reflect on the history of the LGBTQIA+ community in our country. While Pride Month is mainly honored through bright and fun events like parades and parties, it is also a bleak reminder of the hatred, hardships, and disproportionate challenges that members of the LGBTQIA+ community have faced throughout history and still face today. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), these challenges are often caused by different social, economic, and systemic factors, such as discrimination, family rejection, and being at a higher risk for mental challenges. Unfortunately, members of the LGBTQIA+ community face discrimination in many areas of life, and housing/food security is no exception. In general, LGBTQIA+ adults report significantly higher rates of hunger and homelessness than the general population. 

Housing Insecurity

The Williams Institute at UCLA’s School of Law published a study in 2020 that found that, compared to cisgender heterosexual individuals, members of the LGBTQIA+ community have higher rates of poverty, lower rates of homeownership, and higher rates of homelessness. The report found that 17% of sexual minority adults reported experiencing lifetime homelessness; this number is almost three times higher than the percentage of the general population who reported experiencing lifetime homelessness (6%). The study also found that more than 70% of heterosexual, cisgender adults own their own homes, while less than half of LGBTQIA+ adults own their own homes. Other Williams Institute studies have found that homeownership is even lower among LGBTQIA+ racial minorities and transgender people. 

In the housing market, LGBTQIA+ individuals are often mistreated by online renters, mortgage lenders, and homeless shelters and services. “Stigma and discrimination create or exacerbate housing instability for LGBT people across their lives, from family rejection of LGBT youth to discrimination in the rental market and mortgage industry to harassment at senior living facilities,” (Williams Institute). Real-life examples of this discrimination include housing providers not renting or selling to same-sex couples, realtors refusing to show houses to a transgender individual, and a leasing manager at a 55+ community rejecting a tenant’s request to add his same-sex partner to his lease, stating, in writing, that “the community only accepts married couples in unions between one man and one woman,” (HUD)

Food Insecurity

The same discrimination and disproportionate numbers can be found when looking at food security among the LGBTQIA+ community. According to the Household Pulse Survey conducted between July and August of 2021, more than 13% of LGBTQIA+ adults reported living in a home where there was often not enough to eat, almost double that of non-LGBTQIA+ adults (7%). Furthermore, a Williams Institute report published in 2020 revealed that the number of LGBTQIA+ individuals who reported not having enough food to eat that year was more than double that of the general population. Not only do members of the queer community face hunger more often than heterosexual, cisgender adults, but they also reported often feeling unwelcome at food pantries and places that were supposed to help them. 

How to Help

So, what can we do to help? At Bucks County Housing Group, our mission is to make food and permanent housing more accessible to everyone, regardless of who they love or how they identify. We work toward this goal through various housing programs like supportive housing, rapid rehousing, housing counseling, and food programs like our pantries, mobile markets, and community gardens.  

None of this work would be possible without the support of community members like you. If you’re able, please help us on our mission to end hunger and homelessness in Bucks County through any or all of the methods below: 



Hold A Drive

Share our mission by following along!
Instagram: @buckscountyhousinggroup
Facebook: Bucks County Housing Group
Twitter: @housing4all

Lastly, be sure to stay up to date on local news and updates impacting the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Written By: Hannah Borish