Finding a Place to Live if You’re LGBT and Homeless

While many people have the goal of becoming a homeowner, it’s something that isn’t always easy for LGBT individuals. Many are uncertain about applying for a loan together and even for looking for homes due to discrimination. Even if they can’t prove it happened, some do feel as if their real estate agent or other person involved in the process discriminated against them. Even working with a gay or lesbian agent doesn’t always mean that the process will be smooth sailing.

But what about those young LGBT individuals whose dreams of living on their own, going to college, and being successful have been sabotaged by their own families? It’s very difficult for a young LGBT person to start planning for the future if they’ve been kicked out of their home and have no place to live.

Getting Help

Finding a Place to Live if You’re LGBT and HomelessFortunately, there’s help for these individuals. While some do find temporary housing in homeless shelters, some gay and lesbian centers have opened transitional housing facilities. The Los Angeles LGBT Center, for example, offers housing to those who are between the ages of 18 and 24.

This option and others like it are more than just a place to stay. While individuals do get a small room and meals, there’s much more to an LGBT center housing program. These programs don’t want people to simply get off the streets—they want to prepare those in need with the skills to move forward in life. This means LGBT youth will get help with finding and enrolling in college, getting a job, and much more. Financial education is also usually offered, so they can start learning how to save, invest, and prepare for the future. Some programs even help participates with finding housing once they’re ready to start their independent lives.

Finding a Center

While not every LGBT center offers housing, you’ll find that more and more are providing at least short-term rooms for those in need. Even centers that don’t have the space offer help to those in need. If you’ve been pushed out of your family and are not sure where to go, your first stop should be your local LGBT community center. They can provide you with information and suggestions. If you aren’t sure where your local center is or live in an area without one, you can also look at the National Coalition for the Homeless, which includes a section on LGBT homelessness and resources you can reach out to.

The Best Cities for LGBT Individuals in Texas

Texas may not be known as one of the most welcoming states to LGBT people, but like many places, you shouldn’t assume that every part of Texas is like that. The state actually has a number of great places to live. Many of the larger cities in Texas are very progressive, and you’re sure to find a place where you fit in if you do a little research. If you ask any gay or lesbian real estate agent about homes in these areas, you may be surprised at what you find.

Dallas

The Best Cities for LGBT Individuals in TexasAs one of the largest cities in the country, Dallas is home to an incredibly diverse population. In fact, the Oaklawn neighborhood was actually named the top gay district in the U.S. in 2014. Dallas is home to the largest LGBT population in the state, too. You’ll find the Cathedral of Hope, which has a huge LGBT congregation, here. If living in Dallas is a bit too much for you, there are plenty of welcoming suburbs, including Grapevine and Irving.

Austin

The capital of the state, Austin is another large city that has a good-sized LGBT population. Austin Pride Week is one of the largest pride festivals in the state. Austin is also home to a number of LGBT theater groups and writers. In fact, the city is considered to be Texas’s cultural and literature center.

Houston

The most populous city in the state, Houston is home to over two million people. It features many different colleges and artistic endeavors, making it a very attractive option for those looking to continue their education. The city has a growing LGBT community, too, with many gay bars, LGBT-owned businesses, and more. The My Gay Houston website serves to keep everyone informed about upcoming events and connect with others in the community.

San Antonio

The second-largest city in the state, San Antonio has around 1.5 million residents. It’s another very friendly and welcoming city, and many people travel to San Antonio every year for its huge week-long pride celebration. LGBT youth can participate in a scholarship program, too. The city’s river walk is a great place to hang out and enjoy live music and other types of entertainment.

Outside of these four cities, you can also consider locations such as Denton, Marfa, and San Marcos. They’re all welcoming places in the state. Texas is so large, there’s a place for everyone, so take your time and look at your options.

Living in Cape Coral

If you’re a member of the LGBT community, Cape Coral, Florida, may not be one of the places you’re thinking about moving to. That’s because Florida has a lot of great towns and cities that are LGBT-friendly and more high-profile than Cape Coral. Here are a few of the reasons why LGBT individuals and families might want to think about moving to this Florida location.

The Size

Living in Cape CoralCape Coral is a good-sized city that has been growing quite quickly. In 2010, the population was over 150,000. By 2015, it was nearing 200,000. If Miami or Tampa seems too large, but you don’t want to move outside of a metro area, Cape Coral may be right for you. It’s the main city of the Cape Coral-Fort Meyers Metro area, which is home to nearly 800,000 people. You’ll find all of the benefits of a large city here, but you may not feel quite as crowded, especially if you live in the suburbs.

The Location

Cape Coral is nicknamed the “Waterfront Wonderland” because it has more than 400 miles of waterways you can actually navigate a boat through. Most people think of Venice, Italy, when they think of a city with canals, but Cape Coral actually has more canals than Venice and every other city in the world. It’s gorgeous and unique. Some canals even extend into the Gulf of Mexico. There are a number of beaches nearby, too.

The Climate

Another great drawn to Cape Coral is its climate. The city has an average of 355 days of sunshine every year. In the summer, it’s quite warm and humid, but the winters are fairly dry and never get too cold. On average, temperatures get down into the 50s in December and January. If you hate the cold and don’t mind a little humidity, Cape Coral may be perfect for you.

What About LGBT Protections?

While Cape Coral may be a little slow in passing LGBT protections, it is catching up. In January of 2017, the city council unanimously passed an ordinance that added sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity to its protected classes for city employment. This actually puts Cape Coral ahead of the federal government, which has not yet passed such protections.

If you’re curious about moving to Cape Coral, you can contact a local gay or lesbian real estate agent to learn more about the market and about what live in the city is like.

Great Towns for LGBT Families in Iowa

Thinking about making the move to Iowa? The state is certainly a great place to live for some, but how is it for the LGBT community? The good news is that many cities in Iowa have passed a number of laws that protect LGBT citizens. If you’re looking to move to a city that has everything you’d want from a modern metro area, but isn’t as large or as crowded as cities in New York or California, Iowa may have what you’re looking for. Here are some of the best towns and cities in Iowa.

Iowa City

Great Towns for LGBT Families in IowaLet’s start with what is possibly the most LGBT-friendly city in the state. The HRC gave Iowa City a perfect 100 on its Municipal Equality Index. That means the city scored very highly in a number of different areas. Iowa City has also ranked highly on Forbes’ small metros for doing business list, claiming the number two spot in 2008. The home of the University of Iowa, many people see this small metro of 70,000-some people as a college town. It certainly is, but it’s also a great place to make your home.

Des Moines

The capital of Iowa is also its largest city, but with just a little over 200,000 people, some may not find it that large. While it didn’t score a 100 on the HRC index, it did earn an 85. Des Moines is also a very welcoming city, and it may be a better fit for those moving from larger cities. The downtown area is full of shopping, dining, and entertainment venues, including some LGBT-owned clubs and bars.

Mount Vernon

If, on the other hand, you want to live in a fairly small town, Mount Vernon may be exactly what you’re looking for. With only around 4,500 people living there, including the students at Cornell College, Mount Vernon is almost the textbook definition of the word “quaint.” But that doesn’t mean you’ll easily get bored there. Budget Travel Magazine actually named Mount Vernon as one of its Coolest Small Towns, mostly thanks to the activities that go on at Cornell College.

Davenport

With just under 100,000 people, Davenport itself is fairly small. However, it’s part of the Quad-Cities, four different cities so close together that they’re lumped into a metro area with more than 375,000 people. Housing is quote affordable here, and many people who move to Davenport elect to buy a home rather than rent.

The Best LGBT Places to Live in Vermont

Vermont is known as one of the most welcoming and liberal states in the U.S. That shouldn’t be surprising considering it’s represented by people such as Senator Bernie Sanders. The state was also the first to make same-sex marriage legal. If you love everything New England has to offer, Vermont is a great place to settle down. All the cities here are quite welcoming, but there are a few that are especially ideal for LGBT individuals and families.

Burlington

The Best LGBT Places to Live in VermontAs the largest city in Vermont, it’s no surprise that Burlington is home to many LGBT people. It’s often included on lists of the best cities in the U.S. to live for anyone, not just the LGBT community. The city has some great schools, museums, theaters, and more. It’s also the home of the Vermont Pride Center, which is considered one of the best LGBT centers in the area, in addition to advocacy groups such as Outright Vermont.

Manchester

Manchester is perfect for those who are looking for a smaller town that still has plenty to offer. It’s located between the Bromley and Stratton Mountains, so those who live here are surrounded by gorgeous scenery. Many people do visit Manchester during the skiing season, so expect there to be crowds during part of the year. During the off-season, though, Manchester is fairly quiet.

Montpelier

Montpelier is the capital of Vermont, although it’s still a fairly small city when compared to others in the area. Montpelier has some great restaurants, boutiques, and other shopping options. It’s also unique among the state capitals and most large cities in the U.S. in that there is no McDonalds or Walmart in the city. Your gay or lesbian real estate agent can show you some amazing historic homes in Montpelier that you’re sure to fall in love with.

Woodstock

Woodstock shouldn’t be confused with the music festival, which was not held in the town. However, Woodstock is still a very historical little town that’s full of art and culture. Everything about this town is picture-perfect thanks to the fact that it’s actually completely contained within the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park. Woodstock has a large writer and artist community, and the town holds a number of arts festivals every year. It’s a nice town if you’re seeking to get away from it all.

Stowe

Stowe is mainly known as a skiing destination. Like many other places on this list, it’s a smaller town known for its art galleries and picturesque setting. Many businesses here are quite welcoming, and you’ll find the residents of Stowe are friendly and outgoing.

These are just a few of the great places to live in Vermont. If you’re thinking of moving to the northeast, the state should certainly be on your list of potential new homes.

Great LGBT Retirement Locations

Are you ready to retire? Many people decide to move when they reach retirement age. Some need a change of environment for health reasons. Others may have always wanted to live in a certain city or state, but haven’t been able to move due to employment. Now that they’re retired, there may be very little holding them back.

If you’re a member of the LGBT community, you may want to retire to a place that’s much more welcoming and open. You may be ready to live somewhere with other like-minded people who won’t give you any trouble about being in a same-sex relationship. If you’ve entered your retirement years and are ready for a change, here are some of the best LGBT retirement locations separated out by the size of the city.

Large Cities

Great LGBT Retirement LocationsIf you love the big city life and have lived among a large population for most of your life, you may want to retire to one of these larger areas. They all have populations of at least 250,000. Living in a large city means you’ll have access to good public transportation networks, large hospitals, and more, all things that seniors may need.

Large cities to check out:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Phoenix, Arizona

Mid-Sized Cities

If you’re looking for some place that’s a little smaller but still good sized, you might want to consider a mid-sized city. These locations have at most 200,000 people. They still offer many of the great amenities that large cities have, but there’s not quite as much of a crush of people. You’ll find that these locations have average or low costs of living, something many retirees look for due to the fact that they are on a fixed budget. Here are some of the best mid-sized cities for LGBT retirees:

  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Petersburg, Florida
  • Enterprise, Nevada
  • Paradise, Nevada

Small Cities

Don’t like the city? There are a number of small towns and cities out there with no more than 100,000 people. Some of these small cities may be surprising, but they have much larger percentages of same-sex households than the mid-sized and large cities.

  • Wilton Manors, Florida.
  • Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
  • Oakland Park, Florida
  • Miami Shores, Florida
  • Avondale Estates, Georgia
  • Decatur, Georgia
  • North Druid Hills, Georgia

Of course, these cities aren’t the only great places for LGBT retirees. If you’re interested in moving to a welcoming retirement center, a gay or lesbian real estate agent may be able to help you.

Should LGBT Couples Rent or Buy a Home?

If you’re in a same-sex relationship, but aren’t married, you probably assume that you should rent a house or apartment together. Many couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, do this because they don’t want to be tied to a mortgage together if they decide to split up. While same-sex marriage is legal now, some couples either don’t want to get married or are not ready to take that step. However, because interest rates on mortgages hit record lows in 2016 and are still quite reasonable, many people see it as a very good time to purchase a home. Should you do it, or should you continue to play it safe by renting?

The Advantages to Buying

Should LGBT Couples Rent or Buy a HomeBuying a home does mean that you can take advantage of a number of different tax breaks. You can deduct the amount you pay every year in interest to your mortgage from your income taxes. If you’re not married, though, you and your partner will have to file separately. This means you can’t claim the deduction together. You can split the deduction, or one of you can claim it all. It really depends on what your income is and where the deduction will do the most good.

If one of you makes a good amount more than the other, it makes sense for that person to claim all of the deduction. It helps if that person’s name is first on the mortgage, but it’s not a requirement. If you plan on splitting the deduction, it can help if you’ve both paid the mortgage through two separate payments.

Establish Joint Tenancy

If you are buying a home, you will need to establish that you have a joint tenancy with right of survivorship. This way, if one of you dies, the other person automatically becomes the sole owner of the property. If you aren’t both on the title and have it specified that you are living in the home as joint tenants, one partner may end up with nothing if the person whose name is on the title dies. A gay or lesbian real estate agent can provide you with additional information on how to establish joint tenancy.

The Downsides

Purchasing a house isn’t as easy as renting a home, of course. You do have to qualify for a mortgage, deal with property taxes, and handle all of the repairs yourself. However, you’re also building up equity in your property and have control over everything. That’s why many see homeownership, even if they’re not married, as a reward worth working towards.

Do LGBT Homeowners Really Raise Property Values?

One stereotype that has gained popularity over the years is that LGBT homeowners, especially gay men, have picture-perfect homes. This is supported by the fact that many LGBT neighborhoods have become very nice. The process of gentrification that occurs in these areas drives up home values, making the houses there worth much more than they once were. The question, though, is whether or not this stereotype is actually true. Does having LGBT neighbors mean you can expect your property value to increase?

Yes, in Some Areas

Do LGBT Homeowners Really Raise Property ValuesAccording to a report summarized in the Harvard Business Review, gay couples do actually improve home values. The study was conducted by Susane Leguizamon from Tulane University and by David Cirstafore of Konkuk University, which is located in South Korea. The two looked at over 20,000 purchases and sales of neighborhoods in Ohio. The conclusion was that in areas that are socially liberal, adding one same-sex household for every 1,000 did lead to a one percent increase in the value of the homes in that neighborhood. In areas that are predominately LGBT, that can quickly lead to a fairly high increase in property values.

This can often be seen in modern gay neighborhoods that didn’t exist 20 years ago. When these areas became predominately filled with same-sex couples, they tend to increase in value. That’s because these couples often do not have children, which provides them with additional income. Until recently, many were also not married, which allowed them to claim some additional deductions on their income tax by filing separately. The end result was individuals with more disposable income, allowing them to put more work into their homes.

On the Other Hand, it’s Not Always the Case

However, Cristafore and Leguizamon discovered something else in their study. In areas that are more socially conservative, housing prices could actually drop when same-sex neighbors moved in. This is because those who don’t necessarily support LGBT rights may actually sell their homes and move away from their gay neighbors. Others may go so far as to vandalize homes owned by same-sex couples. The end result is that housing prices tend to actually decrease.

In the end, gentrification does have a correlation to LGBT homeowners, but same-sex couples moving into a neighborhood are not the only reason property values may increase. There are a number of other factors that can play just as important a part. Also, not all same-sex couples do as much upgrading to maintenance to their homes.

Should You Consider Moving to New Jersey?

If you’re considering a move to New Jersey, you may start looking for great cities that are also known for being LGBT-friendly. While the state is often overshadowed by nearby neighbors such as New York and Massachusetts, New Jersey does have a number of great places for LGBT people to live. In fact, the state has a growing LGBT community because it’s much cheaper to live in New Jersey and commute to Manhattan and other more expensive neighborhoods to work. Here are some of the top New Jersey areas to live for those in the LGBT community.

Maplewood

Should You Consider Moving to New JerseyMaplewood is a small town located in the northern part of New Jersey. As such, it’s perfect for commuters who are looking for that small-town feel, but still want access to everything a large city has to offer. The town’s downtown area is home to several locally run restaurants and other businesses that are always welcoming no matter who you are. Many people in the city work in the theater industry and operate a local theater company.

Jersey City

Jersey City is perhaps the top LGBT city in New Jersey. In 2016, it was awarded a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign for its dedication to LGBT rights. The city has a number of LGBT households and hosts its own pride festival every year. It’s also home to an LGBT community center and even has LGBT community liaisons in both the mayor’s office and the police station. Recent city ordinances have extended medical coverage for city employees to cover transgender medical needs and gender reassignment surgery.

Jersey City is larger than Maplewood. In fact, it’s the second largest city in the state with over 260,000 people living in it. It’s technically a part of the New York Metro Area, too, and is connected to the larger city by a number of rapid transit rail systems. The Hill and The Heights are both popular neighborhoods with unique apartments and homes.

Lambertville

Another city ranked highly by the HRC, Lambertville was only two points short of making a perfect score this year. It’s located on the western side of New Jersey, almost directly opposite of Jersey City. Lambertville sits on the Delaware River and is much smaller than Jersey City. In fact, it only has about 4,000 people living in it. For those who want a very small town to call him, Lambertville will certainly fit the bill. Just because it’s small, though, doesn’t mean it isn’t the perfect place for you to call home.

Where Should LGBT Families Live in Nevada?

Thinking about moving to Nevada? If you work with a gay or lesbian real estate agent, they can suggest many amazing neighborhoods in this state. Of course, some parts of Nevada are more welcoming than others. While you might expect cities like Las Vegas to be home to many LGBT people, you might be surprised at some of the other cities that are on this list.

Las Vegas

Where Should LGBT Families Live in NevadaOf course, Las Vegas does top the list of friendly homes for LGBT individuals and families. There are many gay and lesbian owned businesses in the city, and just about every place is welcoming to people from all walks of life. But more than just a place to gamble or get married, Las Vegas is a large city home to a diverse number of people. The famous Strip with its huge casinos is just one small part of a sprawling metropolis that includes much quieter areas where you can raise a family.

Enterprise

Enterprise may not be a city you’ve heard of, but if you’re looking to move to Nevada, it should be on your list. It’s a suburb of Paradise, so you’re near everything that larger metro area has to offer. Enterprise is a popular retirement destination for many, including members of the LGBT community. With houses that are quite affordable and neighborhoods that are quiet and safe, you might find your home here, even if you’re not of retirement age just yet.

Virginia City

Virginia City has a very fast-growing LGBT community. Like Enterprise, it’s a quiet little suburb of a larger area. In this case, that’s the Reno-Sparks metro, which offers a great number of shopping opportunities, nightlife, and restaurants.

Reno

If you’d rather live in the metro area itself, Reno is also quite welcoming. This gorgeous area is home to a very active LGBT community. It also has very affordable housing, and there are many great opportunities in Reno. There are a number of different gay bars in the city, plus Reno hosts a great pride festival every year that brings in visitors from all over the northern part of the state.

Stateline

Stateline gets its name from the fact that it sits very close to the line between Nevada and California. A small town, Stateline only has around a thousand residents. Don’t let that stop you from moving there, though. If you love nature, you’ll find the area around Stateline to be one of the most beautiful you’ve ever seen. With just an hour’s drive, you can be in Reno, so you can have everything a metro area offers but still live far enough away that you get that small town feel.

These are just a few of the great cities in Nevada that welcome the LGBT community with open arms. If you’re moving to the state, you can put them at the top of your list.