Our guest blogger today is Kenneth J. Carroll,Director, HUD’s Fair Housing Assistance Program Division, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
HUD continues to let the public know about its initiative to ensure equal access of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to its programs. On Wednesday, February 9, John Trasviña, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, hosted a roundtable discussion in Los Angeles on LGBT housing issues. We were pleased by the wide array of community organizations, housing experts, and representatives of public offices (including U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, Representative Xavier Becerra, and West Hollywood Mayor John Duran) who attended the briefing. Earlier this month, I presented on HUD’s work to ensure equal housing access of LGBT people at Creating Change, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Conference on LGBT Equality, in Minneapolis. That audience included community groups, advocacy organizations, housing providers, and experts on LGBT housing issues. I presented alongside Pam Kisch, Executive Director of the Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan, who discussed her organization’s 2007 statewide study of housing discrimination against same sex couples. These opportunities have afforded Assistant Secretary Trasviña and me the opportunity to talk to interested community members about HUD’s recently issued rule, Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity (published in the Federal Register on January 24, 2011), which proposes to:
- Clarify that all otherwise eligible families, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity, have the opportunity to participate in HUD programs.
- Specify that adequacy of income for any FHA-insured mortgage loan must not be based on unrelated factors or characteristics such as sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Prohibit owners and operators of HUD-assisted housing, housing where financing is insured by HUD, or any other recipient or sub-recipient of HUD funds from inquiring about the sexual orientation or gender identity of an applicant or occupant.
HUD wants to hear from you regarding these changes. Submit comments at Regulations.gov by March 25.
If you believe that you have experienced housing discrimination, call the HUD housing discrimination hotline at (800) 669-9777, or go to www.hud.gov, for assistance. Also, visit HUD’s website on housing discrimination against LGBT people at www.hud.gov/lgbthousingdiscrimination.