HUD frets over discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing programs

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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The Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed a rule Thursday in an attempt to ensure that gays and lesbians are given equal consideration as applicants for housing programs, following several studies that suggest that this is not always the case.

“In considering the mounting evidence of violence and discrimination against LGBT persons,” the report explains, “the Department is concerned that its own programs may not be fully open to LGBT individuals and families.”

The proposed rule attempts to remove the issue from the conversation when the eligibility of applicants to HUD programs is being considered. Pursuant to that, it “[prohibits] lenders from using sexual orientation or gender identity as a basis to determine a borrower’s eligibility for FHA-insured mortgage financing.”

The rule would also further elaborate the definition of ‘family’ to specify that “all otherwise eligible families, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity, have the opportunity to participate in HUD programs.”

Lastly, it would make it illegal for landlords or owners of HUD housing to ask tenants for such information.

“This is a fundamental issue of fairness,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan explained. “We have a responsibility to make certain that public programs are open to all Americans.”

HUD is also conducting its own study regarding the treatment of LGBT people in sales when it comes to acquiring housing. HUD does a similar study every ten years that looks at racial discrimination.