|HUD No. 10-16
March 15, 2010
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HOLDS TOWN HALL MEETING IN NEW YORK CITY TO EXAMINE HOUSING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LGBT COMMUNITY
Commissions first-ever national study of discrimination against members of the LGBT community in the renting and sale of housing
NEW YORK - As a prelude to its first-ever study of housing discrimination against people who are lesbian, gay,
bisexual or transgender (LGBT), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) hosted a Town Hall meeting at the LGBT Center in Manhattan to explore the issue in more depth. Earlier this year, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced a series of proposals to ensure that HUD's core housing programs are open to all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Similar Town Hall meetings were held in San Francisco and Chicago.
"The evidence is clear that some are denied the opportunity to make housing choices in our nation based on who
they are and that must end," said Donovan. "President Obama and I are determined that a qualified individual and family will not be denied housing choice based on sexual orientation or gender identity."
The initiatives announced by Secretary Donovan will be part of a proposed rule that will provide the opportunity for public comment. The proposed rule will:
- Clarify that the term "family" as used to describe eligible beneficiaries of our public housing and Housing
Choice Voucher programs include otherwise eligible lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals
and couples. HUD's public housing and voucher programs help more than three million families to rent an
affordable home. The Department's intent to propose new regulations will clarify family status to ensure its
subsidized housing programs are available to all families, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender
- Require grantees and those who participate in the Department's programs to comply with local and state
non-discrimination laws that cover sexual orientation or gender identity; and
- Specify that any FHA-insured mortgage loan must be based on the credit-worthiness of a borrower and not
on unrelated factors or characteristics such as sexual orientation or gender identity.
HUD expects to begin the regulatory process shortly. The LGBT discrimination study is similarly fast tracked. HUD undertook important research in 1977, 1989 and 2000 to study the impact of housing discrimination on the basis
of race and color. It is believed that LGBT individuals and families may remain silent because, in many local jurisdictions, they may have little or no legal recourse. HUD's study will examine housing discrimination based on
sexual orientation or gender identity.
While there are no national assessments of LGBT housing discrimination, there are state and local studies (for more info go to website: www.fhcmichigan.org/images/Arcus_web1.pdf) that have shown this sort of bias. For example, Michigan's Fair Housing Centers found that nearly 30 percent of same-sex couples were treated differently when attempting to buy or rent a home.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.