June 8, 2010 | by Chris Johnson
HUD requires grantees to comply with LGBT non-discrimination

The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development has implemented a policy change requiring grant applicants to comply with local non-discrimination laws against LGBT people.

On Monday, the department announced the change as part of the notice of funding availability for its fiscal year 2010 discretionary programs, which provides interested applicants with information on requirements for receiving grants.

“If the applicant’s state or local government has passed a law or laws proscribing discrimination in housing based on sexual orientation or gender identity, or a law or laws proscribing discrimination based on lawful source of income, the applicant and any proposed subrecipients must comply with those laws,” the notice states.

In a statement, Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Shaun Donovan said the new change means the department is “using every avenue to shut the door against discrimination.”

“Today, we take an important step to insist that those who seek federal funding must demonstrate that they are meeting local and state civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” Donovan said.

According to HUD, the department previously required grant applicants to comply with civil rights laws such as the Fair Housing Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The new change means applicants must further comply with local and state laws protecting LGBT people.

An estimated 20 states and D.C. have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 12 states and D.C. prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

In October, the new change was among several pro-LGBT proposals that HUD announced were under consideration. Other proposed changes at that time are still under development, according to HUD.

The Blade reported last month that a number of advocates were still waiting for these changes to be enacted six months after they had been announced.

Among the changes still under development is clarifying the term “family” in HUD programs includes LGBT couples. Another would ensure Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgage loans are based on credit worthiness and not unrelated factors such as sexual orientation or gender identity.

Concurrent with the implementation of these changes, earlier this year HUD announced it’s seeking comment for a national study on discrimination against LGBT people in the rental and sale of housing.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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