Part of HUD's mission is to give every person and family access to a safe, secure and affordable home including ensuring fair and equal access to housing for all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status. HUD is working to promote, strengthen and create opportunities for LGBTQ inclusion in its federal programs and regulations.
As the Nation's housing agency, it is our responsibility to ensure that every person participating in HUD's programs has equal access to themwithout being arbitrarily excluded.
About HUD's Equal Access Rules:
On February 3, 2012, HUD issued the first of three rules focusing on ensuring fair and equal access to housing for all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, nonconformance with gender stereotypes, or marital status. The first rule, "Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity" required that a determination of eligibility for housing that is assisted by HUD or subject to a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration shall be made in accordance with the eligibility requirements provided for such program by HUD, and such housing shall be made available without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. The rule also included a definition for sexual orientation and gender identity, and expanded the definition of family in most of HUD's programs.
Building on that rule, on September 21, 2016 HUD issued a final rule, "Equal Access in Accordance with an Individual's Gender Identity in Community Planning and Development Programs Rule" (Gender Identity Rule). The Gender Identity Rule ensures that all individuals have equal access to many of the Department's core shelter programs in accordance with their gender identity. Following what had previously been a practice encouraged by HUD, providers that operate single-sex projects using funds awarded through the Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) are required by the rule to provide all individuals, including transgender individuals and other individuals who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth, with access to programs, benefits, services, and accommodations in accordance with their gender identity without being subjected to intrusive questioning or being asked to provide documentation. HUD's rule will require a recipient, subrecipient, or provider to establish, amend, or maintain program admissions, occupancy, and operating policies and procedures (including policies and procedures to protect individuals' privacy and security), so that equal access is provided to individuals based on their gender identity. This requirement includes tenant selection and admission preferences. The rule also updates the definition for sexual orientation and gender identity.
Lastly, on November 17, 2016 HUD issued a third final rule, "Equal Access to Housing in HUD's Native American and Native Hawaiian Programs-Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity." This rule applied the same equal access provisions from the first rule to HUD's Native American and Native Hawaiian programs. Therefore, those programs are also required to make a determination of eligibility for housing that is assisted by HUD or subject to a mortgage insured by HUD in accordance with the eligibility requirements provided for such program by HUD, and such housing shall be made available without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.
Know Your Rights Under the Fair Housing Act and HUD's Rules:
It is prohibited under the Fair Housing Act for any landlord or housing provider to discriminate against LGBTQ persons because of their real or perceived gender identity or any other reason that constitutes sex based discrimination.
It is illegal for any landlord or housing provider to deny housing because of someone's HIV/AIDS status under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
It is prohibited for a lender to deny an FHA-insured mortgage to any qualified applicant based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.
It is prohibited for any landlord or housing provider who receives HUD or FHA funds to discriminate against a tenant on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.
It is prohibited for all homeless facilities to segregate or isolate transgender individuals solely based on their gender identity.
How to File a Housing Discrimination Complaint:
If you believe you have experienced (or are about to experience) housing discrimination, you should contact HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for help at (800) 669-9777. You may also download the Apple App, Android App, or file a housing discrimination complaint online. HUD will thoroughly review your allegation to determine if the claims you raise are jurisdictional under the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Access Rule.
Additionally, if you have experienced (or are about to experience) housing discrimination in a HUD-funded program or when seeking a HUD-insured mortgage, you should contact your local HUD office for assistance with alleged violations of HUD program regulations.
Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Fund and the Forty to None Project:
Since 2013, HUD and the True Colors Fund have partnered to end homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth, creating a world in which young people can be their true selves. Together, HUD and the True Colors Fund launched an initiative to help Houston and Cincinnati prevent homelessness for LGBTQ youth. A recent report describes lessons learned from the planning phase in those two communities, and offers recommendations for other communities looking to champion similar efforts.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED:
- Read the report and learn how your community can implement similar planning efforts to those in Houston and Cincinnati, and
- Look to the Cincinnati and Houston plans as examples of community-wide strategies for preventing LGBTQ youth homelessness.
For information and resources about this community change process and the initiative’s outcomes, visit HUD’s Youth Homelessness resource page.
Visit www.truecolorsfund.org to learn more about how you can help. In addition, interested people can also participate in an ongoing Twitter #40toNone conversation.