HRC Blog

Department of Housing and Urban Development Adds Protections Against LGBT Housing Discrimination

Today, following up on an announcement made last October, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a notice detailing new requirements [pdf] for groups receiving HUD grants.  For the first time, these new rules require HUD grant recipients to abide by state and local laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing.  Many states [pdf] and localities have adopted such laws and this grant condition will ensure that organizations operating federally-funded housing programs do not use taxpayer dollars to discriminate against LGBT people where prohibited by law.  While this is a positive and welcome step, the majority of LGBT Americans do not live in jurisdictions with laws protecting them from housing discrimination.  HUD cannot change that fact – Congress must act to expand federal fair housing law to include sexual orientation and gender identity.  As we told you in March, after holding a hearing on expanding fair housing protections, Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, introduced the Fair and Inclusive Housing Rights Act of 2010, H.R. 4820, a bill that would do just that.  Congressmen Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Joe Sestak (D-PA) have also introduced measures that would address LGBT housing discrimination.  We hope Congress will follow the lead of HUD and these congressional leaders on LGBT equality and act to extend this basic, yet crucial, protection for our community and our families.     Today’s announcement from HUD also noted that it continues to move forward on a regulation that ensure LGBT individuals and families are eligible for HUD housing programs and instructions to the Fair Housing Administration (FHA) to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the issuance of FHA-insured mortgage loans.  These policy changes were among those HRC recommended to the administration in its Blueprint for Positive Change.  In addition, HUD is undertaking the first-ever nationwide survey of LGBT housing discrimination, and continues to seek online public comment on how best to design and implement that study.

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