As part of the White House Conference on Aging Monday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued guidance to better serve and help avoid discrimination to LGBT Americans seeking HUD-assisted or HUD-insured housing. The guidance will help clarify the Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity Rule (Equal Access Rule), which was originally published in 2012. The Equal Access Rule ensures that housing across HUD programs is open to all eligible individuals regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status, including Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly.
“Every American deserves to live with dignity, regardless of who they love or who they are,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “HUD is committed to fighting unjust discrimination and to expanding housing opportunity for all.”
HUD’s guidance on multifamily and insured housing programs clarifies that a determination of eligibility for housing that is assisted by HUD or subject to a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) shall be made in accordance with the eligibility requirements provided for such a program by HUD, and be made available without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. The guidance also clarifies that no owner of administrator of HUD-assisted or HUD-insured housing, approved lender in an FHA mortgage insurance program, nor any recipient or sub-recipient of HUD funds may inquire about the sexual orientation or gender identity of an applicant for, or occupant of, HUD-assisted housing or housing whose financing is insured by HUD, whether renter or owner occupied.
Violations of the rule and guidance could result in HUD’s determination that the owner has failed to comply with program requirements. HUD may pursue any available remedy, including sanctions, that it determines appropriate to remedy the violation.
The creation and implementation of the Equal Access Rule builds on HUD’s and President Obama’s commitment to expanding opportunity, advancing equality, and leveling the playing field for the LGBT. Since 2010, HUD has taken steps to strengthen LGBT protections, such as formally adopting the principle that gender identity discrimination is sex discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, releasing a groundbreaking study on LGBT housing discrimination, and pursuing complaints under the Equal Access Rule. The multifamily assisted and insured housing guidance follows additional guidance issued by HUD in February on home lending and transgender access to homeless shelters.
For more information on today’s guidance, visit the HUD website.