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HUD Adds LGBT Housing Protections

HUD Adds LGBT Housing Protections

The secretary of the Department of U.S. Housing and Urban Development announced plans Wednesday aimed at eliminating LGBT discrimination in HUD's housing programs.

"The evidence is clear that some are denied the opportunity to make housing choices in our nation based on who they are and that must end," said HUD secretary Shaun Donovan. "President Obama and I are determined that a qualified individual and family will not be denied housing choice based on sexual orientation or gender identity."

The department is proposing changes that would: clarify the term "family" to ensure that same-sex couples and their families are considered eligible for HUD programs; require HUD grantees to comply with state and local laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation; and specify that LGBT individuals be considered for Federal Housing Administration-backed loans based on no other criteria than their credit-worthiness.

The rule change will be open for public comment for at least 30 to 90 days and reissued before becoming part of the federal register.

The department also plans to commission the first national study of discrimination in housing against LGBT people.

The initiatives are part of a proposal that was originally laid out to the Obama-Biden transition team by the Human Rights Campaign. "Today, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced an unprecedented set of initiatives that will protect LGBT people and our families in one of the most fundamental aspects of life -- finding and keeping a home," said Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese.

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