WASHINGTON, D.C. – Advocates say that a recent decision under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) will, effectively and literally, open doors for the LGBT homeless to shelter facilities that receive federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding. The ruling under the “Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs – Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity” measure means shelters that receive federal funding must begin to accept LGBT individuals, or face the threat of legal consequences.
LGBT rights groups say that a subtle discriminatory practice will now be more difficult to maintain or justify. They say that in many facilities across the country, an individual’s sexual orientation often factors into the decision by administrators to extend shelter.
And in the case of transgender residents, there is the additional challenge of placing them based upon their pre-operative/nonoperative status, which has resulted in numerous complaints, nationwide. Another recent landmark ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) extended employment opportunities and protections to trans-identified individuals, with their addition to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The decision will, in practice, open employment doors to trans-identified individuals who are homeless, and who receive wraparound services in transitional and supported-housing situations.