Australia will create affordable housing for trans women in first-of-its-kind initiative

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Pride in Pictures: Sydney

March 2, 2019 in Sydney, Australia the annual Mardi Gras Festival. Photo: Shutterstock

The Australian city of Sydney will be delivering first-of-its-kind affordable housing tailored specifically to transgender women.

In partnership with the transfeminine All Nations housing co-operative and the Sydney city council, Common Equity NSW will be purchasing seven properties at a discount, directing the properties specifically toward women who are considered “highly at risk,” which includes trans women.

This will be focused on those whose income ranges from very low to moderate and will create “a strong, viable and thriving housing co-op which delivers positive outcomes for trans women,” according to Common Equity NSW chief executive Nick Sabel in a statement made to PinkNews.

This project was inspired by a group of trans women who were trying to find safe and affordable housing. They turned their group into a cooperative known as All Nations, and they’ll be providing input for the housing as it is developed.

This is especially important as trans women are notably at risk of becoming homeless, in large part due to anti-trans discrimination that is prevalent in many countries. According to the U.S.-based National Center for Transgender Equality, one in five trans people has faced housing discrimination.

“All Nations have strong support arrangements with a range of services and agencies. We will also link with other agencies such as the Gender Centre and [community health charity] ACON to support this transgender co-op,” said Sabel.

These properties are at such a low cost due to the council’s excess land scheme, which identifies government-owned properties that are not being utilized. They are then sold to organizations that can better use them for those in need.

This has been done previously for other under-served groups, including the homeless and others with low income.

Aurora Green, a Gender Centre social worker and trans woman, told The Guardian that a lack of document matching often serves as a motivation to discriminate against transgender women in housing.

“Even though it’s illegal to discriminate against someone based on their gender, it’s still very easy when someone’s submitting an electronic application, you can see conflicting details and give this to someone else,” Green said.

“In a dedicated service, there’s so much more flexibility for people that are at different stages of their medical transition or whether they want to medically transition at all.”

“When there’s a place that’s going to understand why that [ID] information may conflict and be understanding and helpful with that, that’s just so important… It also brings the trans community together.”

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