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HUD withdraws Trump rule on rejecting transgender people from shelter

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Thursday withdrew a proposed Trump-era rule that would have let shelter programs turn away transgender people.

“Access to safe, stable housing-and shelter-is a basic necessity,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge in the announcement. “Unfortunately, transgender and gender non-conforming people report more instances of housing instability and homelessness than cis-gender people. Today, we are taking a critical step in affirming HUD’s commitment that no person be denied access to housing or other critical services because of their gender identity. HUD is open for business for all.”

According to the announcement, the Trump administration had refused to fully implement the Equal Access Rule and proposed a rule in 2020 that would have allowed shelter programs and operators to subject transgender individuals to inappropriate and intrusive inquiries, deny them accommodations, and subject them to greater harassment.

The 2016 CPD Equal Access Rule requires that HUD grantees funded in whole or in part by any Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) program ensure equal access to community planning and development programs, shelters, other buildings and facilities, benefits, services, and accommodations. Grantees must ensure shelter access be provided to a person in accordance with that person’s gender identity, and in a manner that affords equal access to the person’s family. 

“After four long years of fighting the previous administration’s homophobic and transphobic policies, I am incredibly relieved that under President Biden, HUD has moved quickly to ensure that LGBTQ Americans enjoy the same protections as straight and cis individuals,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Chicago). “Housing is a human right and no one should face discrimination based on who they love or how they identify.”

“We are thrilled to see today’s announcement, which is further confirmation that this administration is committed to ensuring that LGBTQ people are not turned away from federally-funded services and programs,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Legal Director Shannon Minter. “Access to homeless shelters is often a matter of survival for trans people, who are more likely to be homeless, to lack secure housing, and to be the victims of domestic violence.”

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