On November 20, 2015, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development published a proposed rule addressing the placement of transgender individuals in HUD-funded and HUD-insured housing, including federally-funded shelters. The proposed rule is intended to provide more guidance on implementing a 2012 HUD requirement addressing the housing needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.
The new proposed rule would cover recipients and subrecipients of assistance under a number of HUD programs, including the HOME Investment Partnerships program, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program, Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program, and the Continuum of Care (CoC) program, as well as owners, operators, and managers of shelters and other buildings and facilities and providers of services funded in whole or in part by any of these programs.
In 2012, HUD had issued a final rule entitled “Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity,” which required that HUD-assisted and HUD-insured housing be made available without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status, and which prohibited most inquiries into sexual orientation or gender identity for the purpose of determining eligibility for such housing or otherwise making such housing available. That rule covered not only local Public Housing Authorities and shelters and other housing that received HUD financial assistance but also mortgage lenders that issued HUD-insured FHA loans.
As HUD noted in the summary to its new proposed rule, the 2012 Equal Access Rule
provides a limited exception for inquiries about the sex of an individual to determine eligibility for housing provided or to be provided to the individual when the housing is a temporary, emergency shelter that involves the sharing of sleeping areas or bathrooms, or for inquiries made for the purpose of determining the number of bedrooms to which a household may be entitled.
The 2012 rule did not set a national policy regarding how transgender persons should be accommodated in temporary, emergency shelters that involve shared sleeping quarters or shared bathing facilities. Based on a review of the implementation of that earlier rule, HUD is proposing to require
recipients and subrecipients of assistance from HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD), as well as owners, operators, and managers of shelters, buildings, and other facilities and providers of services covered by CPD’s programs, to provide transgender persons and other persons who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth with access to programs, benefits, services, and accommodations in accordance with their gender identity.
The proposed rule would also amend the definition of “gender identity” included in HUD’s 2012 Equal Access Rule so the definition “more clearly reflects the difference between actual and perceived gender identity.”
Finally, “the proposed rule would eliminate the Equal Access Rule’s current prohibition on inquiries related to sexual orientation or gender identity, while maintaining the prohibition against discrimination on those bases.”
HUD will accept comments from individuals and organizations regarding this proposed rule for 60 days from the date of publication, or by January 19, 2016.
A copy of the HUD proposed LGBT rule can be viewed here.
Information on HUD’s 2012 Equal Access Rule is available here.