Department of Housing and Urban Development Announces Guidance on Housing Discrimination Against LGBT People

7/1/2010 – The Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – today praised the announcement of new guidance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regarding assistance the agency provides to LGBT people who experience housing discrimination.  According to HUD’s announcement, the new guidance treats discrimination in housing based on gender identity as gender discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, giving HUD the ability to investigate those claims.  In addition, in states and localities that have LGBT-inclusive housing discrimination laws, when HUD receives complaints from LGBT people, it will jointly investigate the claims with, or refer them to, state or local housing agencies.  Nineteen states, the District of Columbia and numerous local jurisdictions prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  
“There is little more central to every person’s life than housing, but many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families continue to face discrimination in finding and keeping a home,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “We thank Secretary Donovan and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for taking this important step forward.  However, Congress must act to expand our nation’s fair housing laws to protect all members of the LGBT community.”  
“Our job to prevent and combat housing discrimination is not complete without addressing 21st Century issues,” stated John Trasviña, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity in a press release. “Our fair housing staff will work with state and local civil rights agencies to investigate and refer discrimination cases and work to combat all aspects of gender discrimination.” 
 In addition to today’s announcement, HUD has announced or taken several other steps to address LGBT discrimination in housing.  Last October, the agency announced it would conduct the first-ever national study of LGBT housing discrimination and is soliciting public input nationwide on how best to do that.  HUD has also announced forthcoming regulations that would include protections for LGBT families who are beneficiaries of HUD housing programs and prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the awarding of mortgage loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).  Earlier this month, HUD issued a notice requiring applicants for HUD grants to comply with LGBT-inclusive state and local anti-discrimination laws.  Several of these policy changes were among those HRC recommended to the administration in its Blueprint for Positive Change.

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