Last Saturday, Department of Housing and Urban development Secretary Shaun Donovan unveiled HUD’s LGBT Equal Access policy. The new rules will protect more than 5.5 million people across the nation. The new rules were announced at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s annual Creating Change conference. It is the first time that an Administration has extended broad protections to the LGBT Community.
NCLR is proud to have worked closely with HUD on a series of policy changes that target and address housing discrimination against LGBT people.
In 2010, HUD announced that it would require all grant-seekers applying for funds from HUD to comply with any state and local laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It also announced the launch of a ground-breaking national study of housing discrimination against members of the LGBT community in the sale and rental of housing.
In another historic move later that year, HUD announced that it interprets the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex to protect transgender and gender nonconforming people. In September 2010, NCLR co-hosted a webinar with HUD that educated HUD staff and housing providers on their new obligations under this guidance.
In December, NCLR partnered with HUD and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging to hold the first-ever national summit examining housing issues for LGBT elders. The day-long event provided a forum for attendees to discuss ideas and policy proposals to support housing and long-term care designed for LGBT elders.
HUD’s new LGBT Equal Access policy will have an impact that goes beyond increased access to housing and housing services. The homelessness and housing insecurity that results from widespread housing discrimination places our community at increased risk for violence, and while the passage of hate crimes legislation was historic, we urgently need policies aimed at reducing vulnerability to violence.