HRC Co-Hosts State of the Union Roundtable at the White House
February 15, 2012 by Robin Maril, Senior Legislative Counsel
LGBT and fair housing advocates joined representatives from the Department of Housing and Urban Development yesterday for a discussion on the recently published HUD Equal Access regulations.
The White House State of the Union roundtable was co-hosted by HRC and the National Center for Lesbian Rights and was moderated by Maya Rupert from NCLR.
I was honored to join the panel discussion with HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing John Trasvina, Director of Fair Housing Assistance Programs Ken Carroll, Diedre Swesnik from the National Fair Housing Alliance, and Harper Jean Tobin from the National Center for Transgender Equality. Having started my career at HUD, the opportunity to join this conversation and to work with both the fair housing and LGBT communities on this rule has been inspiring.
What makes these new regulations so powerful and unique, and gives them the potential to be so transformative is the number of LGBT lives that will be impacted throughout the country and across the economic spectrum. LGBT individuals at their most vulnerable, those who are at the highest risk for homelessness, will be protected from discrimination when seeking public housing and voucher subsidies.
The regulations will also protect prospective homebuyers. Over the past two years, almost a third of U.S. homebuyers relied on mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, and for lower-income homebuyers this number is much higher. Because of this rule, FHA lenders can no longer take a borrower’s sexual orientation or gender identity into account when determining creditworthiness. This will make the dream of homeownership, and the financial and family stability it can provide, a reality for the first time for many LGBT homebuyers.
As leaders in the LGBT community, it is our job to make sure these new policies go into practice. We must commit ourselves to working with low- and lower-income members of our community to ensure that they know their rights. We also look forward to engaging with HUD, housing authorities, and FHA lenders when this rule goes into effect next month.
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