On September 21, 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a final rule designed to ensure equal access to individuals in accordance with their gender identity in programs and shelters receiving certain HUD funding. The rule requires that operators of single-sex shelters and other projects that receive funds from HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) provide all individuals — including transgender individuals and other individuals 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. It further protects individuals from being subjected to intrusive questioning or being asked to provide documentation regarding their gender identity.
In a press release announcing the CPD Equal Access rule, HUD noted:
HUD’s new rule will require a recipient, subrecipient, or provider to establish, amend, or maintain program admissions, occupancy, and operating policies and procedures (including policies and procedures to protect individuals’ privacy and security), so that equal access is provided to individuals based on their gender identity. This requirement includes tenant selection and admission preferences.
The CPD final rule follows several other HUD initiatives related to LGBT individuals. In February 2012, HUD issued a final rule entitled “Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity,” which was designed to ensure that HUD’s housing programs would be open to all eligible individuals and families regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. The 2012 Equal Access Rule, however, did not address how transgender and gender non-conforming individuals should be accommodated in temporary, emergency shelters and other buildings and facilities that have shared sleeping quarters or shared bathing facilities.
The new CPD rule applies to recipients and subrecipients of funds from: the HOME Investment Partnerships program, the Housing Trust Fund program, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program, the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program, the Continuum of Care (CoC) program, and the Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program. The requirements also apply to owners, operators, and managers of shelters and other buildings and facilities and providers of services funded in whole or in part by any of those CPD programs.
The new CPD Equal Access rule will take effect on October 21, 2016.
Click here to read HUD’s press release about the new rule.