Activists praise HUD’s new FHA guidelines
The Obama Administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development announced last week a new policy aimed at protecting LGBT people and people with HIV/AIDS from housing discrimination. The federal Fair Housing Act does not expressly protect any of those groups from discrimination, but HUD announced new guidelines under which the FHA can be INTERPRETED to protect those groups. For example, transgender discrimination would fall under sex discrimination. And HIV/AIDS discrimination could be considered discrimination based on disability.
Michael Silverman from the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund said it was a big step – toward eliminating housing discrimination for the LGBT community.
Silverman: “Advocacy groups like ours are always pushing the envelope and saying ‘Hey, we think the law can mean this, and if you interpret it this way, it can protect more members of our community,’ but to have the administration come down on that side is incredibly important.”
Silverman said although the guidelines only apply to this administration’s departments, it could create a legal precedent that will stand up for much, much longer.
Silverman: “Having the Department of Justice on your side is always a good thing. It’s another weapon that we have in our arsenal for trying to protect members of our community, and I think we’re going to see significantly improved outcomes for people who experience housing discrimination.”
HUD said it would retain its jurisdiction over complaints filed by LGBT individuals or families throughout the country, but could also JOINTLY investigate matters in states, districts and localities where LGBT people ARE explicitly protected.