HUD Adds LGBT Protections to Its Grant Programs
HUD has added another requirement for grant applicants seeking HUD funds. Anyone applying for any competitively award grant program, including those slated for Fiscal Year 2010, now has to comply with state and local anti-discrimination laws that protect lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals.
Traditionally, HUD requires all applicants for competitive grant funding to comply with all applicable federal fair housing and civil rights requirements, including those expressed in the Fair Housing Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Now, HUD will further stipulate that applicants and their subrecipients must comply with state or local laws proscribing housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It is estimated that there are approximately 20 states and the District of Columbia that have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation discrimination. In addition, 12 states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.
HUD’s press release said that its General Section will not consider an applicant’s submission if it fails to meet minimum thresholds. The Federal Housing Administration will also instruct its lending community that FHA-insured mortgage loans must be based on credit-worthiness of borrowers and not on unrelated factors or characteristics such as sexual orientation or gender identity. Finally, HUD will commission the first-ever national study of discrimination against members of the LGBT community in the rental and sale of housing.
These steps follow on the heels of HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan’s announcement of a series of measures last October that would ensure the agency’s core housing programs are open to all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition to the recently published notice on grant applicants, HUD intends to propose new regulations that will clarify that the term “family” as used to describe eligible beneficiaries of HUD’s programs include otherwise eligible LGBT individuals and couples.