WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Friday released long-awaited guidance to ensure equal access for transgender people in homeless shelters that receive federal funding.
The guidance bans facilities and other entities that receive HUD funding, as well as lenders who participate in the Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage insurance program, “from inquiring about [an idividual’s] sexual orientation or gender identity to determine eligibility for HUD-assisted or HUD-insured housing.”
This follows similar guidance issued by the Department of Justice in 2014 for domestic violence shelters and other programs funded by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
“This is tremendous progress and great news,” says the National Center for Transgender Equality, in a statement. “This guidance may literally save transgender people’s lives. ”
According to a 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, nearly one in five transgender people (19 percent) has experienced homelessness at some point because discrimination. Almost one in three (29 percent) transgender people seeking shelter were turned away outright, while 55 percent were harassed, 25 percent were physically assaulted, and 22 percent were sexually assaulted in the shelters they were allowed into.