The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued two sets of guidances intended to clarify the Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity Rule. The clarifications are intended to make it easier for LGBT people applying for home loans and for transgender men and women seeking access to homeless shelters.
The Equal Access Rule, published in 2012, ensures that housing across HUD programs is open to everyone, regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.
The guidance on eligibility for HUD assisted and insured housing programs, makes is “clear that housing that is financed or insured by HUD must be made available” regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, real or perceived.
It also prohibits those who own and/or operate HUD-funded or HUD-insured housing from asking about an applicant’s sexual orientation and from denying housing on that basis.
Sexual orientation and gender identity “should not and cannot be part of any lending decision when it comes to getting an FHA-insured mortgage,” according to a HUD press release.
The second guidance focused on how to serve transgenders in single-sex shelter facilities, which will “help to address the fact that almost 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBT and the majority of them report harassment, difficulty or even sexual assault when trying to access homeless shelters,” the press release said. “This guidance states that a transgender client’s or potential client’s own views with respect to personal health and safety deserve serious consideration when placing the person in a single sex shelter.”
The guidance addresses appropriate placement of transgenders in single-sex facilities and it guides providers on the best way to address privacy and safety concerns in shelters without segregating or isolating trans women and men.
HUD Secretary Julian Castro said, “It’s an injustice that any transgender person is mistreated when seeking help. We issued this guidance so that shelter providers treat these Americans with the dignity they deserve. This measure is an important step in shaping a future where every person is accepted, respected and housed.”