HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) published a final rule implementing HUD’s policy to ensure that its core programs are open to all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status. NLIHC signed on to a comment letter regarding proposed regulations issued in January 2011 (see Memo, 3/25/11).
The rule explicitly states that eligibility determinations for HUD-assisted or -insured housing must be made without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status. This prohibition applies to owners or administrators of HUD-assisted or HUD-insured housing, lenders in an FHA mortgage insurance program and any other recipient or sub-recipient of HUD funds.
The regulation prohibits inquiring about sexual orientation or gender identity for the purpose of determining eligibility or otherwise making housing available. Individuals, however, may voluntarily self-identify sexual orientation or gender identity.
Inquiries about an applicant’s or occupant’s sex is allowed for the limited purpose of determining placement in temporary, emergency shelters with shared bedrooms or bathrooms, or for determining the number of bedrooms to which a household may be entitled.
The rule defines “family,” without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status, to include single persons or groups of persons residing together, including those who are elderly, disabled, and with or without children.
The final rule was published in the Federal Register on February 3 and is available at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-02-03/pdf/2012-2343.pdf.