Speaking with Forbes, Gore said there were a large number of transgender adults who came to the center looking for housing. Many of those looking for shelter also faced discrimination in the past and worried about their safety.
“They were asking about genitalia…They were concerned about the safety of the current residents at their facilities and not the safety of the person who actually needed shelter,” Gore told Forbes.
The activist and her friend, Illyahnna C. Wattshall, then began providing temporary housing for people in their own homes. Five years later, the two friends founded My Sistah’s House, an organization that provides emergency housing to transgender people in need. Since launching their program, the pair have welcomed people from various parts of the country.
“We’ve had folks come from Chicago, Texas, Arkansas, from the top of Tennessee and Florida, to come and seek shelter,” Gore said. “It’s a good feeling, but it’s also like, wow people have to travel so far just to be safe.”
Gore and Wattshall are now ramping up their efforts by building tiny homes. The duo, who raised more than $300,000 for the project through GoFundMe, have purchased a 30-acre plot of land to begin work on the first three homes.
Looking at the issue of homelessness, which has been especially exasperated by the pandemic, the two activists decided that tiny homes would be the best solution.
“We were at max here, and were thinking, what’s a permanent solution to houselessness, and we thought about homeownership. The most feasible way to provide homeownership is tiny houses,” Gore, who is the organization’s executive director, said.
Gore, a Black transgender woman who previously experienced homeless, said there were other people who helped during her difficult time.
"Other people who were experiencing homelessness kind of showed me how to stay safe, because I'm a transgender woman, I'm Black," she told CBS News. "They taught me how to sleep on top of buildings, how to hide my clothes during the day."
According to the National Center of Transgender Equality, 1 in 5 trans people in the country faces discrimination while searching for a home. Additionally, more than 1 in 10 have been evicted due to their gender identity. The data also reveals that 1 in 5 trans people have experienced homelessness. Family rejection, discrimination and violence have been identified as the main factors leading to homelessness for transgender people.
“One of the most significant pieces of paper we have, we can’t change it on there,” she said. “And that’s a real concern for me as an advocate.”