Equal Access Rule Training and Information
The CCHA offers the following information and links as annual training to providers to effectively implement:
1. HUD’s Equal Access Rule, which was expanded in 2016, ensures that HUD’s housing and shelter programs are open to all eligible individuals and families regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. This webinar will help you to better understand the Equal Access Rule and teach you how to amend your shelter’s policies and procedures to be in compliance. You will also learn from Alliance experts how to train staff to provide better access to all people seeking shelter in your community
2. The Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity Rule, This Rule requires that a determination of eligibility for housing that is assisted by HUD or subject to a mortgage insured by HUD shall be made available without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. The rule includes a definition for sexual orientation and gender identity, and expands the definition of family in most of HUD’s programs and
The Equal Access in Accordance with an Individual’s Gender Identity in Community Planning and Development Programs Rule; This Rule ensures that all individuals have equal access to the Department’s core programs, including shelters and other buildings and facilities, in accordance with their gender identity and in a manner that affords equal access to the individual’s family. Providers that operate single-sex projects using funds awarded through the Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) are required by the rule to provide all individuals, including transgender individuals and other individuals who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth, with access to programs, benefits, services, and accommodations in accordance with their gender identity without being subjected to intrusive questioning or being asked to provide documentation. This requirement includes tenant selection and admission preferences. The rule also amended the original EAR definitions for sexual orientation and gender identity.
A person who has been denied equal access to HUD-funded or HUD-insured housing by a housing provider or lender because of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status may report it to HUD by either filing a complaint or by contacting a local FHEO office. In many instances, a violation of the Equal Access Rule will also violate the Fair Housing Act.
Know Your Rights Under the Fair Housing Act and HUD’s Equal Access Rule, for example:
- It is prohibited under the Fair Housing Act for any landlord or housing provider to discriminate against LGBTQ persons because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or any other reason that constitutes sex based discrimination.
- It is unlawful for a landlord or housing provider of a covered dwelling to deny housing because of actual or perceived HIV/AIDS status under the Fair Housing Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- It is prohibited for a lender to deny an HUD-insured mortgage to any qualified applicant based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.
- Under the Equal Access Rule, HUD-funded homeless providers must place clients in a shelter or facility that corresponds to the gender with which the person identifies, taking health and safety concerns into consideration. Providers must also ensure that their policies do not isolate or segregate clients based upon gender identity.
How to File a Housing Discrimination Complaint
If you believe you have experienced (or are about to experience) housing discrimination, you may contact HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 to file a complaint. You may also contact your local FHEO office or file a complaint online by visiting https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/online-complaint
Persons who identify as LGBTQ and believe they have experienced housing discrimination because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity can assert their rights under the Fair Housing Act by filing a complaint with HUD.
- HUD will accept and investigate all legally sufficient complaints of sex discrimination, including discrimination because of actual or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation, and enforce the Fair Housing Act where it finds such discrimination occurred or is about to occur.
- In addition, some LGBTQ persons may have claims arising under other provisions of the Act, e.g., race, national origin, color, religion, disability and familial status.
- HUD’s Equal Access Rule also requires that eligibility determinations for housing assisted by HUD or subject to a mortgage insured by HUD be made regardless of actual or perceived gender identity, sexual orientation, or marital status.
- Fair Housing Act Protections from Sex Discrimination Including Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
- HUD’s Equal Access Rule Protections for Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Marital Status
- Know Your Rights Under the Fair Housing Act and HUD’s Equal Access Rule
- How to File a Housing Discrimination Complaint
- LGBTQ Housing Discrimination Resources
3. HUD’s Equal Access rules ensures that all individuals – regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity – have equal access to HUD’s Department of Community Planning and Development (CPD) programs, shelters, benefits, services and accommodations. As such, it prohibits certain forms of discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Intersex individuals. The rules also prohibit separation of families.
Here is a YouTube video and its accompanying training slide deck which covers Equal Access requirements and strategies to provide all individuals who interact with CoC funded agencies with a safe, healthy, inclusive, affirming and discrimination-free environment
Both training resources are linked below, thanks to the Connecticut BoS CoC and Housing Innovations for making them available.
Slides: Equal Access Training Slides 2022 CT BOS – PDF
4. CCHA encourages you to utilize the Pride Center of Vermont Education resources for Vermont specific information.
5. The State of Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity also provides statewide training on these subjects: https://dcf.vermont.gov/oeo/partners/trainings