HUD Reaffirms Commitment to Equal Access to Housing, Shelters, and Other Services Regardless of Gender Identity
Yesterday, HUD announced that it is withdrawing the previous administration’s proposed rule that would have weakened the Equal Access Rule. HUD has submitted its action withdrawing that rule to the Federal Register, which is expected to publish it next week.
The 2016 Equal Access Rule requires recipients of HUD’s CPD funding, as well as owners, operators, and managers of shelters, and other facilities and providers of services funded by any CPD program, to grant equal access to such facilities and services in accordance with an individual’s gender identity, and in a manner that affords equal access to the individual’s family. This rule built upon the 2012 Equal Access Rule, which aimed 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.
There are a number of materials available to assist communities and providers with implementation of the Equal Access Rule. Specific questions requesting formal HUD program guidance can be submitted to the Ask A Question (AAQ) portal. Select the appropriate program – CoC: Continuum of Care, ESG: Emergency Solutions Grants, or HOPWA: Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS – and enter “Equal Access Rule” for the subject.
- Equal Access for Transgender People: Supporting Inclusive Housing and Shelters: This guide focuses on project-level policies and procedures, requirements and recommendations specific to single-sex facilities, and resources for creating practical documents like signage, intake forms, and other written policies and procedures.
- Equal Access Expectations - Training Scenarios: Individual projects can use these brief scenarios and discussion points as the foundation of staff training sessions to support transgender-inclusive projects.
- HUD LGBTQ Homelessness Landing Page: This section of the HUD Exchange establishes a central clearinghouse of resources for the LGBTQ community, including information on and links to HUD's Equal Access Rule and program guidance, a toolkit on supporting transgender-inclusive projects, information on HUD's initiative for the community-wide prevention of LGBTQ youth homelessness, and links to LGBTQ resources and research reports.
We know that members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community are more likely to become homeless, and once homeless, more likely to endure discrimination and harassment that extends their homelessness. LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness are at particular risk. The Voices of Youth Count study, conducted by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, and the most comprehensive examination of youth homlessness to date, found that LGBTQ youth experienced homelessness at more than twice the rate as their peers, and that they were more likely to experience adversities both before and during homelessness.
Yesterday's action was an important step forward. We stand with HUD and our federal partners in re-affirming our own commitment to ensuring that no person be denied access to housing or other critical services because of their gender identity, sexual orientation, or marital status.