Thursday, September 22, 2016

Been There Done That

Once a month I do training for homeless shelters around the state for integrating shelters for trans people, in general it has been well received. So this is nothing new for Connecticut.
Homeless shelters facing new transgender rules
The Hill
By Tim Devaney
September 20, 2016

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said Tuesday that homeless transgender women, who were assigned the male gender on their birth certificates but identify as female, should be housed with other women at shelters.

The transgender protections will apply to certain federally funded shelters.

"This new rule will ensure equal access to the very programs that help to prevent homelessness for persons who are routinely forced to choose between being placed in facilities against their gender identity or living on our streets,” HUD Secretary Juli├ín Castro said.
But in reality we were protected this new rule. Back in February 2012 HUD published “Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity final rule (Equal Access Rule) (77 FR 5662)

From our presentation,

  • The Equal Access Rule requires that HUD’s housing programs be made available to individuals and families without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status
  • It prohibits owners and administrators of HUD-assisted or HUD-insured housing, approved lenders in an FHA mortgage insurance program, and any other recipients or subrecipients of HUD funds from inquiring about sexual orientation or gender identity to determine eligibility for HUD-assisted or HUD-insured housing
  • It provides a limited exception for inquiries about the sex of an individual to determine eligibility for temporary, emergency, shelters with shared sleeping areas or bathrooms, or to determine the number of bedrooms to which a household may be entitled
  • HUD stated in the Final Rule preamble that is was not mandating a national policy on placement of transgender persons in single-sex shelters but would instead monitor its programs to see if additional guidance or setting a national policy might be appropriate;
  • HUD has subsequently determined it is necessary to provide additional guidance on how best to provide shelter to transgender persons in a single-sex facility. HUD is continuing to evaluate whether setting a national policy through rulemaking is necessary.

And that is what the new guidelines do, provide guidance.

We have done over a dozen trainings so far around the state to shelter staff and 211 operators. As I said we have had some pushback from shelter staff, one even wrote a letter to Connecticut’s senators complaining about us and the policy, and at another training we got into a heavy discussion with another shelter staff person, but those were the only two people who objected to the federal policy.

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