Fresno County's LGBTQ+ community faces housing barriers, report shows

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As Fresno County continues to find solutions to a lack of affordable housing, many marginalized groups feel the impact, including those in the LGBTQ+ community.

Fresno State's Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department, Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission and the organization, Trans-E-Motion, released the first housing report in Fresno County focused on the LGBTQ+ community.

There are nearly 20 pages - some filled with experiences of discrimination when applying to rent or buy. This is despite the California Fair Employment and Housing Act that protects against landlord discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

"They've got great credit, check all of that stuff, right references and all of that, and then they go see the place because that's usually the next step. Then either the landlord or the person who's working for that landlord or whatever recognizes that they are LGBTQ, especially discriminatory towards trans people, then all of a sudden that unit is no longer available," explained Katherine Fobear.

Fobear, a Fresno State professor, conducted the year-long study with Fresno EOC and Trans-E-Motion.

She said the lack of affordable housing and the discrimination many in the LGBTQ+ community face leave them with nowhere to go.

According to the report, close to 50% of those surveyed experienced homelessness in the past two years.

Fobear added that many in the LGBTQ+ community also report discrimination and fear of being targeted in emergency shelters.

"They are either being denied to go to shelters because of their gender identity, or they are being outed by either staff or by like locals who are staying at these places," she said.

Fobear hopes releasing the housing report to the public brings more awareness to the issues and results in solutions - mainly giving the LGBTQ+ community a seat at the table when it comes to solving housing issues.

"We're also asking to think about LGBTQ people who are part of these communities but are also experiencing additional barriers," she said.

The group now plans to present its findings to city and county officials.

The public can view the full housing report here.

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