Are You Serious About Ending Housing Discrimination? Submit Your Comments to HUD Today

From The National Center For Transgender Equality: http://tinyurl.com/4epkael

March 19, 2011

Deadline: Friday, March 25, 2011
If you or someone close to you has experienced housing discrimination because of your gender identity, we urge you to share your story.

In January, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed new regulations intended to ensure that federally-funded housing programs are open to all eligible persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.  HUD has opened a public comment period on these proposed rules which, when finalized, will apply to all federally-supported housing and mortgage lending.

This public comment period, which runs through March 25, is your chance to give your input directly to HUD. Tell HUD to end gender identity discrimination in federal housing programs.  Submit your comments here.

A survey of transgender and gender non-conforming people conducted by NCTE and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force last year found that 19% of the 6,450 respondents were denied a home or apartment and 11% were evicted because they were transgender or gender non-conforming. The rates of home ownership (32% for our sample) were less than half the rate of the general population at 67%. Respondents of color fared even worse than our sample overall.

Whether or not this has happened to you or someone close to you, you probably agree that discrimination is wrong and HUD should adopt these rules to end it today.  You can use our sample letter below or tell a more personal story by submitting your comments here.

Housing discrimination can lead to homelessness.  A staggering 19% of respondents reported having been homeless at some point in their lives because of their gender identity. People of color reported even higher rates, with an alarming 41% of African Americans and 29% of Latina/os in the study having been homeless because of bias. And sadly, housing providers that serve the homeless routinely failed our respondents. Of those who had attempted to access homeless shelters, 29% were turned away altogether, 42% were forced to stay in facilities designated for the wrong gender, and others encountered a hostile environment. Fifty-five percent (55%) reported being harassed, 25% were physically assaulted and 22% were sexually assaulted. Many of these critical housing providers would be covered by the new HUD rules.
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD

Sample Letter to HUD Secretary Donovan

If you or someone close to you has experienced housing discrimination because of your gender identity, we urge you to share your story in your letter.  You may make any changes or additions to NCTE’s sample letter, or you may submit it as written. You may sign your name to your letter, or you may submit your comments anonymously. HUD’s online public comment form is here.

Dear Secretary Donovan,

I am writing to urge the Department of Housing and Urban Development to adopt strong regulations to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in federally-assisted housing programs and mortgage lending. National research shows that transgender people extraordinarily high levels of discrimination in housing. In a survey of more than 6,400 transgender and gender non-conforming people across the nation, 19% had been denied housing and 11% had been evicted because of their gender identity. Nearly one in five (19%) had experienced homelessness due to their gender identity. Discrimination was even worse in homeless shelters, where 42% were forced to stay in facilities for the wrong gender, 25% were physically assaulted, and 29% were turned away altogether.

HUD’s public housing, community development, and housing financing programs exist to make housing accessible to all Americans – discrimination of any kind has no place in these critical programs. All providers of federally-assisted housing and mortgage lending must be held accountable for making housing accessible to all eligible individuals, without regard to gender identity or sexual orientation.

I urge you to adopt final regulations that fully protect transgender people in all HUD-assisted housing and lending.

About NCTE
The National Center for Transgender Equality is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people. By empowering transgender people and our allies to educate and influence policymakers and others, NCTE facilitates a strong and clear voice for transgender equality in our nation’s capital and around the country. The National Center for Transgender Equality is a 501(c)3 organization.

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