Speaking Sunday at the Creating Change conference in Baltimore, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan told conference attendees the government will be creating new rules to bolster existing regulations against LGBT discrimination in housing and lending.
The new rule will prohibit owners and operators of HUD-assisted housing and HUD-insured housing from asking about an applicants sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition to this, the narrow definition of “family” will now be widened to explicitly include LGBT families. Third, the new rule will also protect LGBT people when they are applying for a mortgage insured by HUD partner the FHA.
“Today, I am proud to announce a new Equal Access to Housing Rule that says clearly and unequivocally that LGBT individuals and couples have the rights to live where they choose,” Donovan said.
“This is an idea whose time has come.”
The change bars owners and operators of HUD-funded or -financed housing from inquiring about an applicant’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
“If you are denying HUD housing to people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity — actual or perceived — you’re discriminating, you’re breaking the law, and you will be held accountable.”
“The new regulations from HUD will help protect LGBT people and our families in one of the most fundamental aspects of life – finding and keeping a home,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “This common sense action will help some of the most vulnerable people in our community in trying to make homes for themselves and their families.”
The rule, which will be published this coming week, will go into effect 30 days after publication.
This move, while very welcome, will only ban housing discrimination in HUD assisted programs. Further action will be required to outlaw the wider problems of discrimination LGBTs face in the housing and credit sectors.
Senator John Kerry last year introduced legislation to make it illegal to discriminate against LGBT Americans in the housing and credit markets.
The legislation, the Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) Act, would amend the Fair Housing Act to prohibit housing discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status. It would also bar discrimination on the grounds of source of income and would amend the Equal Opportunity Credit Act to prohibit LGBT discrimination in credit related decisions.
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