Low Income LGBT Legal Needs Identified New Report

LGBT LegalLow Income LGBT Legal Needs Identified by New Report

The report is the first of its kind in the nation and provides insight into the civil legal challenges and discrimination faced by low income LGBT individuals. It analyzes survey data from more than 300 low-income New Yorkers on a range of LGBT legal issues related to violence and harassment, housing, income and disability assistance, immigration, health care, family, employment, education, and veterans’ rights. In addition to identifying key challenges, the report provides a series of concrete findings and recommendations to improve legal services for low-income LGBT people.

“The public doesn’t usually associate poverty with the LGBT community. Unfortunately, that perception is wrong: poverty is a huge problem for many LGBT people. Yet there are far too few LGBT legal resources to address the challenges and discrimination faced by low-income LGBT individuals,” said Cathy Bowman, LGBT & HIV Unit Director at Legal Services NYC’s Brooklyn office. “Our goal with this report is to raise awareness and generate action to fight poverty in the LGBT community,” said Adam Heintz, Director of Pro Bono Services at Legal Services NYC and a primary author of the report. “Mainstream legal services organizations and LGBT groups each have a vital role to play in that fight. Legal Services NYC was very fortunate to have hundreds of low-income LGBT people share their experiences with us for this report. We owe it to them to make sure their voices—which have so often been ignored—are heard now.”

Legal Services NYC, the largest civil legal services provider in the U.S., released today a report entitled Poverty is an LGBT Issue: An Assessment of the Legal Needs of Low-Income LGBT People.

The report’s findings were taken from a survey of 310 low-income LGBT people, along with additional data from community members, experts, and other sources.

Findings of the report on low income LGBT legal needs include:

• Low income LGBT people face many of the same challenges as others living in poverty: LSNYC’s survey found that 62% of low-income LGBT New Yorkers had difficulty paying for a basic need in the past year. Analysis of every civil legal practice area explored uncovered a substantial need for services.

• LGBT Legal challenges are exacerbated by discrimination, harassment, and violence: Survey respondents reported discrimination, harassment, and violence in a range of contexts. Transgender respondents described particularly pervasive discrimination.

•Anti-LGBT harassment in public places is common: 39% of survey respondents reported being verbally harassed in public for being LGBT in just the past year.

“The public doesn’t usually associate poverty with the LGBT community. Unfortunately, that perception is wrong: poverty is a huge problem for many LGBT people. Yet there are far too few legal resources to address the challenges and discrimination faced by low-income LGBT individuals,” said Cathy Bowman, LGBT & HIV Unit Director at Legal Services NYC’s Brooklyn office.

“Our goal with this report is to raise awareness and generate action to fight poverty in the LGBT community,” said Adam Heintz, Director of Pro Bono Services at Legal Services NYC and a primary author of the report. “Mainstream legal services organizations and LGBT groups each have a vital role to play in that fight. Legal Services NYC was very fortunate to have hundreds of low-income LGBT people share their experiences with us for this report. We owe it to them to make sure their voices—which have so often been ignored—are heard now.”

The report’s findings were taken from a survey of 310 low-income LGBT people, along with additional data from community members, experts, and other sources. Findings of the report include:

• Low-income LGBT people face many of the same challenges as others living in poverty: LSNYC’s survey found that 62% of low-income LGBT New Yorkers had difficulty paying for a basic need in the past year. Analysis of every civil legal practice area explored uncovered a substantial need for services.

• LBGT Legal challenges are exacerbated by discrimination, harassment, and violence: Survey respondents reported discrimination, harassment, and violence in a range of contexts. Transgender respondents described particularly pervasive discrimination.

•Anti-LGBT harassment in public places is common: 39% of survey respondents reported being verbally harassed in public for being LGBT in just the past year.

January 19, 2016 – legal Services NYC

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