Studies have long indicated that the LGBTQ+ community needs rent control. That’s because LGBTQ+ people are more likely to rent than own a home, which means they’re constantly dealing with the predatory tactics of the real estate industry. Rent control will protect LGBTQ+ tenants, stabilize skyrocketing rents, and prevent people from falling into homelessness.
Recently, a report by UCLA’s Williams Institute, an LGBTQ+ think tank, found a number of alarming statistics, showing that members of the LGBTQ+ community need strong tenant protections. That includes updated rent control policies.
First, the Williams Institute noted that “extensive research has demonstrated that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people face a number of barriers to stable housing, including affordability in places where they live, higher rates of poverty, and lower rates of homeownership.”
In California, where the housing affordability crisis has only worsened over the years, LGBTQ+ tenants are obviously struggling to maintain stable, affordable housing.
The COVID-19 pandemic, in fact, showed that the lives of LGBTQ+ renters can be easily upended by sudden emergencies. During the pandemic, the Williams Institute revealed, nearly half of LGBTQ+ Americans fell behind on their rent and feared eviction within the next two months. In addition, LGBTQ+ people of color were more likely to be renters and to be behind on their rent compared to other groups.
To take it a step further, that means that many LGBTQ+ renters were facing the serious prospect of homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But there are solutions.
Housing Is A Human Right advocates for the “3 Ps”: protect tenants through rent control and other protections; preserve existing affordable housing, not demolish it to make way for luxury housing; and produce more affordable housing.
Rent control is a key part of the 3 Ps. Experts at USC, UCLA, and UC Berkeley found that rent control will quickly stabilize the housing affordability crisis and prevent people from falling into homelessness. Rent control, in other words, works.
It’s why Housing Is A Human Right and its parent organization, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, are moving forward with the Justice for Renters Act. The 2024 ballot measure will expand rent control in California, allowing localities to pass updated rent regulations.
Big Real Estate, though, will spend tens of millions to fund a massive misinformation campaign to kill the initiative.
So we need the LGBTQ+ community’s support, joining a broad coalition of labor unions, social justice groups, housing justice organizations, and civic leaders, such as labor and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta. In 2024, we urge the LGBTQ+ community to back the Justice for Renters Act. It’s time to rein in predatory landlords and keep people safe, healthy, and housed.