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This story is another fictional example of a woman or gender-diverse person at-risk of homelessness. Read the story to explore more root causes of homelessness and unique challenges that women and gender-diverse people experience.

This is Jane.

Jane identifies as non-binary and uses the pronouns they/them. Jane has been precariously housed for years with experiences of absolute homelessness occasionally.

Jane experiences discrimination in the rental market because of their gender identity and Rental applications are rejected due to prejudiced attitudes, for example, assuming they are sexually promiscuous or involved in sex work. Their current landlord routinely misgenders them. They are often harassed by other tenants.

Jane lives in an expensive urban city and most of their earnings go toward rent for their studio apartment. They juggle two minimum wage jobs but (still settle for) aren’t able to find a place with adequate living conditions.

Jane struggles to come up with rent and sometimes is late with payments. They were evicted from their last place without warning. Jane came home to find the locks were changed and their belongings were in the street.


What challenges does Jane experience in the rental housing market?

a)  Gender discrimination

b)  Bullying, harassment

c)  Prejudice, intolerance

d) All of the above

Check answer

(Click to flip.)

Answer: d) All of the above

Women and gender-diverse people often experience discrimination or prejudice related to gender, sexuality or economic status. Landlords may reject applications in favour of renters who are perceived to be more stable or low risk. Gender-diverse persons may be stigmatized, misgendered or harassed by landlords and other tenants.

What supports might help Jane access stable housing? Explore possible interventions:

Landlord engagement & education services offered by some housing programs can prevent evictions by educating landlords and addressing their concerns.

Tenants can learn their rights and responsibilities to be able to stand up to intimidation tactics. If an eviction process is started, legal advocacy may help tenants resolve issues and remain housed.

Short-term assistance can prevent tenants from going into rent arrears, grants for first months’ rent, furniture and basic household items can assist renters to find new housing.

Bottom line:

For some people, the experience of homelessness is brief and they are able to return to stable housing quickly. However, for others, homelessness and poverty can be a complex cycle that is difficult to escape.