Since 2008, the Transgender Emergency Fund of Massachusetts (TEF) has provided support and financial assistance services to low-income transgender residents of Massachusetts. Since the beginning of our organization’s existence, we have been painfully aware of the epidemic of homelessness impacting our communities.
It is currently estimated that one in five transgender adults have experienced homelessness during their lifetime, much higher than what is experienced by cisgender people. Transgender and nonbinary people experiencing homelessness are at increased risk of experiencing violence, mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and infectious disease. Furthermore, transgender and nonbinary people experiencing homelessness also struggle to receive services from traditional housing programs and shelters due to stigma and discrimination from program staff and other guests.
To begin to provide a tangible solution to this crisis, we are creating the TEF Transitional Housing Program. We seek to purchase a building where we can provide temporary, full-time housing and all the resources necessary to get a handful of homeless transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people off the streets and on their feet. We want to make a safe place where these individuals can learn all the skills necessary to become self-sufficient and successful in securing housing and employment.
We are looking for financial support for our vision. We are seeking donations for our Transitional Housing Program which will be used to purchase property, rehabilitate property, and staff our program. Please donate to our cause!
Recently, TEF conducted a housing survey amongst our applicants to better inform our work on this issue. We surveyed 51 applicants who are either currently experiencing homelessness or who have in the past. We found that a majority of our applicants who have attempted to access traditional housing programs had very negative experiences, often due to anti-trans stigma and discrimination. We also asked applicants about what sort of housing programs they would like to see, and we learned a lot! We learned that trans and non-binary people experiencing homelessness would prefer a transitional housing program with 24 hour staff, private rooms, access to gender-affirming healthcare, and gender affirming programming and workshops on-site. This survey has helped us shape a vision for a new kind of housing program, for the community and by the community. Click here to view survey details
We are still actively collecting survey data. If you are or know someone who is transgender, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming and is currently experiencing or has experienced homelessness or housing instability, please take a moment to fill out the survey.