U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced a series of initiatives and regulations to ensure LGBTs are not denied access to federally subsidized housing based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The proposals include: Clarifying the term "family" to includes LGBT couples in public housing and voucher programs; requiring grantees and contractors to comply with local and state non-discrimination laws that cover sexual orientation or gender identity; and FHA-insured mortgage loans must are not denied based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
HUD will commission the first-ever nationwide study to determine the extent of discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing sales and rental programs. The extent of such discrimination is unknown, but HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said it undoubtedly exists. "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.
State and local studies have shown significant bias against LGBT renters and mortgage applicants. A study from Michigan's Fair Housing Centers found nearly 30 percent of same-sex couples were treated differently when trying to buy or rent a home. Transgender renters face even more bias, says Mara Keisling at the e National Center for Transgender Equality.