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HUD Announces LGBT-Friendly Access Policies

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development–or HUD–has announced new rules that would allow ALL eligible persons equal access to federal housing. This means Americans CANNOT be turned away from HUD-sponsored programs because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

On a conference call Thursday, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said his agency has worked since the beginning of the Obama administration to make inclusivity and diversity “cornerstones” in its programs and policies.

DONOVAN: “As it has been in so many civil rights battles over the last four decades, I want to make sure that HUD is a leader in this fight. That’s why over the last 24 months, we’ve worked to ensure that our housing programs are open to all.”

Donovan said the new regulations will prohibit lenders from using a borrower’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity to decide if they are eligible for federally-insured mortgage financing. The rules will also keep owners and operators of HUD-assisted housing from asking either an applicant or an occupant about their sexuality. And the department says it will clarify its definition of a “family,” to include LGBT individuals and their loved ones.

While the federal Fair Housing Act DOES NOT protect against LGBT discrimination, there are reportedly about 20 states with laws that do. Either way, the department said it will conduct the nation’s first-ever study that will look into LGBT housing discrimination.

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