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HVAF—Helping Veterans and Families was pleased recently to join a coalition of over 25 human services providers in Indiana urging Senators Todd Young and Mike Braun to support the Equality Act that would modernize civil rights law by extending federal non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ people. This act would provide explicit protections in employment, housing, education, and public spaces as an extension of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, LGBTQ people disproportionately experience homelessness. They represent 20-40% of the homeless population, despite accounting for only 5-10% of the wider population. Veterans are similarly overrepresented in the homeless population, accounting for over 15% of those experiencing homelessness in Indianapolis despite less than 5% of Marion County residents having served in the military.
The solution to homelessness is quite simply housing for all who need it. Unfortunately, providing housing and supportive services needed for vulnerable populations is much more complicated. At HVAF, our team of dedicated case managers work with veterans to eliminate barriers to self-sufficiency, including addressing physical and mental health challenges, substance use and unemployment. Last year, over 1300 veterans received life changing assistance at HVAF.
While Marion County has a human rights ordinance in place to protect opportunities in employment, housing, education, and public spaces regardless of race, color, religion, disability, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status, the State of Indiana lacks the same protections. It is a tragedy that for some the last barrier to ending homelessness is discrimination. The over one million LGBTQ veterans in our nation deserve more respect and appreciation for their service to our country than to be denied housing on the basis of their gender identity and sexual orientation.
At HVAF, we work to end homelessness among all veterans. Passage of federal protections is important to our mission as many of our LGBTQ veterans remain at higher risk of housing instability and food insecurity because our state lacks LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections. Passing the Equality Act will help end veteran homelessness by protecting all those who defended our nation’s freedom and the more than 13 million LGBTQ people across the country.
You can support HVAF’s mission today: