PROMO, S.A.G.E. Metro St. Louis, and the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council (EHOC) are proud to announce these rules and commend the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for taking great strides to ensure equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities within federal housing programs.
The final ruling has been a long time coming. Over a year ago, on January 20, 2011, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan proposed new regulations to ensure that all individuals had equal access to housing programs. After a series of public comment periods held after the announcement, the proposed rule will today become a reality for the LGBT community.
Finding a Growing Need for Housing Protections
The new rules came in the wake of a series of studies that showed an increase in discrimination that LGBT individuals and their families were facing regarding equal housing access. The most notable of these studies was conducted by Michigan Fair Housing Centers in 2007. Among many of its findings, the studying found unequal treatment in 32 our of 120 fair housing tests it conducted. This study, along with a survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (Task Force), indicated a significant level of housing instability for transgender individuals. It is HUD's belief that LGBT individuals and families fail to report instances of discrimination because they may have little or no legal recourse in many local jurisdictions, including areas in Missouri. HUD is currently underway with the first-ever national study of discrimination against members of the LGBT community.
What Exactly Does this New Rule Propose
In the new rule, HUD issues several ambitious regulations on HUD funded housing and services. These regulations include:
- Prohibiting owners or operators of HUD-assisted housing from asking about an applicant's sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as on HUD forms
- Prohibiting Federal Housing Administration (FHA) - insured lenders from denying mortgages to individuals based on their perceived or actual sexual orientation and gender identity
- Giving equal access to HUD programs for eligible families, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity
"This is a fundamental issue of fairness," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "We have a responsibility to make certain that public programs are open to all Americans. With this proposed rule, we will make clear that a person's eligibility for federal housing programs is, and should be, based on their need and not on their sexual orientation or gender identity." Read the full regulations here.
Ending Housing Discrimination in Missouri
Currently in Missouri, St. Louis City, Kansas City, Columbia, Jackson County, University City, Olivette, and Clayton are all local municipalities that already have inclusive protections in employment, housing and public accommodations for the LGBT community. As we continue to experience momentum locally for extending basic nondiscrimination protections, this rule only helps to strengthen our cause for inclusion of these protections statewide. For example, in St. Louis and Southeast Missouri alone, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funded roughly $2.7 billion in housing projects.
PROMO, S.A.G.E. Metro St. Louis, and EHOC continues to work in Missouri to ensure everyone has equal access to housing, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. "All of our coalition partners across the state have helped us to gain nondiscrimination protections we currently have in local municipalities." says A.J. Bockelman Executive Director of PROMO. "We all look forward to including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in our campaign to end discrimination for the LGBT community in Missouri."