Williams Opposes Proposed Hud Rule Which Would Permit Shelters To Discriminate Against Transgender Individuals

September 23rd, 2020

Press Release

Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams has submitted a public comment to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), strongly opposing the proposed rule which would remove HUD's existing gender identity protections around admission to homeless shelters that receive federal funding. This change would permit discrimination against transgender individuals in need of shelter.

The Public Advocate calls HUD's position "inherently transphobic" and argues that "If the proposed rule takes effect, it will result in a direct and indirect increase in the unsheltered homeless population. Directly, removal of anti-discrimination protections for trans persons will restore the shelter system's harassment and violence of the days before the Equal Access Rule, pushing trans persons to risk sleeping in the open rather than subject themselves to those conditions.'" He says that implementing the rule would increase homelessness, defy recent Supreme Court opinion, and that it is not evidence based.

Public Advocate Williams further notes that "Rooting the proposed rule in the transphobic language once deployed to oppose gender-neutral bathrooms fails to serve or advance HUD's mission of ensuring decent housing for all and a suitable living environment for all."

In the midst of a pandemic which has increased homelessness, the Public Advocate demonstrates that "Removing protections for equal access will retrench patterns of trans persons leaving their communities for places with more supportive practices, adding to already-strained networks and challenging provision of shelter services overall, or avoiding housing services entirely for fear of their personal safety."

The full comment can be downloaded  here.

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