At the Creating Change Conference held in Baltimore Jan. 25–29, Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced a new policy to fight discrimination. The new rules will be published this week and go into effect 30 days later.
“Today, I am proud to announce a new Equal Access to Housing Rule that says clearly and unequivocally that LGBT individuals and couples have the right to live where they choose. This is an idea whose time has come,” he said.
The new rules increase protection against housing discrimination by:
• prohibiting owners and operators of HUD-assisted or HUD-insured housing from discriminating against an applicant or occupant of a residence based on sexual orientation or gender identity;
• prohibiting all lenders offering Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages from considering sexual orientation or gender identity in determining a borrower’s eligibility; and
• clarifying the definition of “family” to ensure that otherwise eligible participants in any HUD programs will not be excluded based on marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
“I’m here this afternoon because our president and his administration believe the LGBT community deserves a place at the table — and also a place to call home. Each of us here knows that rights most folks take for granted are routinely violated against LGBT people,” Donovan said. “That’s why I’m proud to stand before you this afternoon and say HUD has been a leader in the fight — your fight and my fight — for equality. Over the last three years, we have worked to ensure that our housing programs are open. Not to some. Not to most. But open to all.”
The new regulations result from HUD under Donovan collecting data to better understand how same-sex couples suffer housing discrimination. His department has already worked to protect LGBT people under the Fair Housing Act.
Donovan is the first sitting cabinet secretary to address Creating Change.
This was the 24th Creating Change, the country’s largest annual gathering of LGBT rights advocates, staged annually by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Video of Donovan’s speech follows the jump: