New HUD rule expands protections to LGBT individuals

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced recently that new regulations have been put in place to ensure equal housing opportunities for those who may previously have been discriminated against due to sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or marital status.

The final rule, effective March 5, 2012, will affect several programs that fall under HUD’s directive, including Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance programs and community development programs. This rule was proposed in late January after HUD was advised that lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered (LGBT) individuals and families who were otherwise qualified for HUD-assisted or –insured housing were not receiving equal access.

Going forward, the owners and operators of such housing will be prohibited from denying housing based on an applicant’s LGBT status. Furthermore, inquiries regarding sexual orientation or gender identity will be prohibited. “The proposed rule clarified that families, who are otherwise eligible for HUD programs, may not be excluded because one or more members of the family may be LGBT or perceived to be LGBT.” Furthering housing equality is a priority to HUD because it is the Nation’s only agency that “is charged with promoting the federal goal of providing decent housing and a suitable living environment for all.”

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) worked closely with HUD throughout the development of this rule and will remain involved to ensure its successful implementation and that LGBT renters and homebuyers are aware of these new protections.

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