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04/19/2007


Same-Sex Housing Discrimination A Reality According To New Federal Study

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released the results of the first ever study on same-sex housing discrimination today. They are unsettling to say the least:

RainbowThe study, An Estimate of Housing Discrimination Against Same-Sex Couples, measures the treatment same-sex couples receive from rental agents when inquiring about apartments advertised online, as compared to how otherwise similar heterosexual couples are treated.

According to HUD’s study, same-sex couples experience unequal treatment more often than heterosexual couples when responding to internet ads for rental units, and findings show that gay male couples experience more discrimination than lesbian couples.  

HUD remains committed to providing equal access to housing for all individuals under United States law. Though The Fair Housing Act does not include sexual orientation or gender identity under its umbrella of identified protectorates, twenty states, along with the District of Columbia, have laws reinforcing the protected status of LGBT individuals.

Prior to the housing discrimination study, HUD already recognized the need for such protections to extend across the country.  

Recently, HUD issued new guidance that treats discrimination based on gender nonconformity or sex stereotyping as sex discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, and instructs HUD staff to inform individuals filing complaints about state and local agencies that have LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws. In addition, on February 3, 2012, HUD published a final rule, “Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity”, which requires HUD-funded and HUD-insured housing providers and FHA-approved lenders to provide equal access without regard to sexual orientation, gender identity, and marital status. 

What this study's results, and the steps already taken will mean for same-sex couples in the housing market remains to be seen. 


HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan Announces New Policy Combating LGBT Housing Discrimination: VIDEO

Donovan

Speaking at NGLTF's Creating Change conference over the weekend in Baltimore, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that a new policy proposed last year combating LGBT housing discrimination is to be published and finalized this week and go into effect in 30 days.

MetroWeekly reported, over the weekend:

"Today, I am proud to announce a new equal access to housing rule that says clearly and unequivocally that LGBT indivduals and couples have the right to live where they choose," he told the audience, which rose to its feet with applause.

Donovan detailed that the rule, saying that it includes a new equal access provision that prohibits discrimination in HUD-backed housing programs. It also, he said, guarantees that LGBT individuals are eligible for HUD's public housing programs and states that discrimination is prohibited on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in all Federal Housing Administration-backed loans -- which Donovan said constituted 40 percent of all loans for Americans who bought a home last year.

Donovan's speech is now online. He's introduced by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force executive director, Rea Carey.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Additionally, Carey's State of the Gay and Lesbian Movement address can be found here.

Continue reading "HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan Announces New Policy Combating LGBT Housing Discrimination: VIDEO" »


HUD Secretary Donovan is First Cabinet Member to Back Marriage Equality, Address Transgender Event: VIDEO

Shaun Donovan, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development made history in a couple of ways last night.

DonovanMichael Lavers notes that Donovan "became the first sitting cabinet member to attend a transgender-specific event when he delivered the keynote address at the National Center for Transgender Equality's annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C."

Donovan spoke on a variety of trans-related issues. Watch his speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

He is also the first sitting Cabinet Secretary to support marriage equality, which he made clear in an interview with MetroWeekly's Chris Geidner shortly after the National Center for Transgender Equality's event:

Asked about this summer's passage of marriage equality in New York, Donovan says, ''I was enormously proud to be a New Yorker on the day that it passed. I actually worked for Andrew Cuomo when he was Housing Secretary. I worked for Mike Bloomberg who has been a constant supporter of the law – what is now law.''

He talked about how the law's passage had affected those around him, saying, ''So many friends that I know were able to achieve a dream the day that law passed. And so many neighbors.

''It made me proud to be a New Yorker – not enough to get me to move back. We've got more work to do in the Obama administration in a second term.''

Asked if that included marriage equality, Donovan confirmed it did, saying, ''Like marriage equality.''

Watch Donovan's speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "HUD Secretary Donovan is First Cabinet Member to Back Marriage Equality, Address Transgender Event: VIDEO" »


HUD Proposes New Rules to Ensure Equal Access to LGBT People

The Department of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday proposed rule changes ensuring equal access to housing regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Writes Ed O'Keefe at the Washington Post: Hud

The department unveiled a series of proposed rule changes Thursday that would prohibit lenders from using sexual orientation or gender identity as a way of determining a borrower's eligibility. In a nod to same-sex marriages and same-sex parents, the rule change would state that eligible families have the opportunity to participate in HUD-based programs regardless of marital status or sexual orientation.

The new rules, if adopted, also would prohibit owners and operators of HUD-funded housing from asking applicants or occupants of the housing about sexual orientation or gender identity.

***

The proposed rules must undergo a 60-day public comment period before formal implemented. If approved, they would joint a growing list of policy and procedural changes made by federal agencies that don't require congressional approval, including gender-neutral passport application forms, changes to how the U.S. Census Bureau counts same-sex relationships and the extension of fringe benefits to the same-sex partners of gay and lesbian federal workers.

I've embedded HUD's document detailing the proposed rule changes, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "HUD Proposes New Rules to Ensure Equal Access to LGBT People" »


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