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By BTL staff
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has launched a new media campaign, “Live Free,” that strives to ensure that people have equal access to housing regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or families with children. While sexual orientation and gender identity are not prohibited bases of discrimination under the federal Fair Housing Act, housing discrimination against someone who is LGBT may, in certain circumstances, violate the act’s existing provisions, including its prohibition against gender discrimination.
“While 20 states and more than 200 local governments have led the way to make LGBT-related housing discrimination illegal, HUD is firmly committed to supporting the right of LGBT individuals and families to lead productive and dignified lives, free from housing discrimination and fear of retaliation, said John Trasvina, HUD assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity. “HUD is finalizing a federal rule to ensure that HUD housing and programs are open to all, irrespective of marital status, gender identify, and sexual orientation.”
The “Live Free” campaign will run throughout the year and include Facebook ads, targeted print ads, digital videos and podcasts.
In 2010, HUD provided guidance to its staff on how to more effectively address inquiries from LGBT individuals regarding housing discrimination issues and also launched a webpage for the public on LGBT housing discrimination. Since then, HUD’s housing discrimination complaint level from LGBT individuals has increased significantly. From July 1, 2010 to Feb. 28, 2011, LGBT individuals filed 47 complaints of housing discrimination alleging gender discrimination with HUD. During the same period straddling 2009 and 2010, HUD only received 3 such complaints.
For more information about the Fair Housing Act and to file a complaint of housing discrimination, call 1-800-669-9777 or go to http://www.hud.gov/fairhousing.