Housing and Urban Development secretary Julian Castro is expected to announce new policies benefiting LGBT citizens at one of the largest LGBT activist gatherings, Creating Change, this February in Denver, the National LGBTQ Task Force told The Advocate Monday.
"Secretary Castro is a true champion for equality who, while serving as Mayor of San Antonio, signed into law a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance extending basic rights to LGBTQ people," Russell Roybal, deputy executive director of external relations at the Task Force, said in a statement Monday. "We are very pleased to be able to work with him and HUD to advance fairness, justice, and equality for LGBTQ people."
For its part, a HUD spokesman downplayed the possibility of any policy announcement, telling The Advocate that Castro will discuss the department's current policies and the progress being made for LGBT families and individuals.
Previously at Creating Change, former HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced the department would implement new policies banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in programs the department funds. The rule prohibited owners and operators of HUD-assisted or HUD-insured housing from inquiring about an applicant or occupant's sexual orientation or gender identity. Also, lenders offering Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages cannot discriminate against LGBT people in their borrowing practices and cannot ask about borrowers' orientation or gender identity. The narrow definition of "family," sometimes used as a way to discriminate against gay or transgender people in HUD voucher programs, will now not take into account marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
"Enacting a rule is not enough. Training and education are essential to ensuring rules are followed in communities across the country," Donovan said at the conference. "And so, HUD and its fair housing partners will work to provide guidance and training on the substance of this rule -- and the impact it will have for both how we administer HUD programs and also how we enforce our nation's fair housing laws more broadly."
Same-sex couples experience discrimination in the online rental housing market, according to a 2013 study by HUD. Additionally, white people who make inquiries about homes are more likely to receive responses from landlords than black and Latino clients, according to the study.