As if President Donald Trump’s administration hasn’t done enough to harm LGBT people, the administration has now proposed a change that will remove protections for LGBT people under the Equal Access Rule for fair housing.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced July 23 it was replacing the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule implemented in 2015 with its own policy, named Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice, according to a HUD press release.
“After reviewing thousands of comments on the proposed changes to the [AFFH] regulation, we found it to be unworkable and ultimately a waste of time for localities to comply with, too often resulting in funds being steered away from communities that need them most,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson in the press release.
The policy defines fair housing broadly to mean housing that, among other attributes, is affordable, safe, decent, free of unlawful discrimination, and accessible under civil rights laws. It then defines “affirmatively furthering fair housing” to mean any action rationally related to promoting any of the above attributes of fair housing.
The problem is though that under the new rule, shelters and programs that receive or operate using HUD grants are now able to ignore nondiscrimination protections for transgender people, leaving them vulnerable to being denied shelter and forced out onto the streets, according to a press release by CenterLink.
"Transgender people already face widespread discrimination in all aspects of life," said Denise Spivak, CenterLink's CEO, in the press release. "One in five transgender individuals have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, and a disproportionate number of homeless youth identify as transgender. We will do whatever we can to ensure this repugnant rule doesn't go into effect."
AFFH was created by former President Barack Obama to require localities to draw up plans to address housing discrimination in order to receive certain federal funding, as reported by MSN.
"It's a dark day for the country when [President Trump] boasts about maintaining housing segregation, and the agency charged with carrying out the Fair Housing Act becomes a tool to help him do it," Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the ranking member of the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, said according to MSN.
Trump on July 23 criticized Joe Biden's housing platform in a tweet.
"The Suburban Housewives of America must read this article," Trump tweeted. "Biden will destroy your neighborhood and your American Dream. I will preserve it, and make it even better!"
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called HUD’s move, “a betrayal of our nation’s founding values of equality and opportunity for all,” according to AP News.
Pelosi said in a statement: “It is a shameful abdication of our government’s responsibility to end discriminatory housing practices and to lift up our nation’s most vulnerable communities. The Administration must reverse this outrageous decision and uphold the law.”
According to MSN, Biden has vowed in his campaign's housing plan to reinstate the Obama-era rule and provide tax incentives to build more affordable housing in suburban, urban and rural areas.
MSN also reported that at a White House event Trump claimed a Biden presidency would "totally destroy the beautiful suburbs. Suburbia will no longer be as we know it. So they wanted to defund and abolish your police and law enforcement while at the same time destroying our great suburbs."