HUD Secretary Donovan discusses new rules to protect LGBT community from housing discrimination

U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan Friday told a White House conference on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender homelessness that a new federal housing rule is an “idea whose time has come.”

“Just over a month ago, I was proud to stand before the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change conference to announce a new Equal Access to Housing Rule that says clearly and unequivocally that LGBT individuals and couples have the right to live where they choose,” Donovan said in a speech to a crowd gathered on the campus of Wayne State University. “And today, I’m just as proud to tell all of you that the rule is now final — and officially went into effect this week.”

“If you are denying HUD housing to people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity — actual or perceived — you’re discriminating, you’re breaking the law — and you will be held accountable,” Donovan continued. “That’s what equal access means — and that’s what this rule is going to do.”

According to Donovan, the new rule will prohibit HUD housing or HUD-insured financing entities from inquiring about a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, or denying applicants based on those categories. The rule also prohibits FHA-financed mortgage programs from making inquiries or denying applicants based on these categories. The new rule also makes it clear, Donovan said, that LGBT families are eligible for HUD’s public housing and voucher programs.

More on the rules can be found here.