A new rule proposed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) would permit homeless shelters that receive federal funds to discriminate against people seeking shelter based on their gender identity.
The proposal ignores evidence from HUD indicating that gender minorities are more likely to be unsheltered than their cis-gender peers. Data reported by HUD shows that 56% of homeless transgender adults and 82% of homeless gender non-binary adults are living without shelter, compared with 48% of their homeless cis-gender peers.
Transgender people also experience discrimination when attempting to rent or buy a home, making accessible shelter even more critical for this population. HUD’s own data reflect disparities in transgender people’s access to shelter and housing, and this proposed rule change could make these disparities even worse.
This issue is near and dear to P4C: Washington state has the largest number of unhoused non-binary people in the country. Nearly 2% of the total homeless population in Washington, or 368 people, identify as non-binary. LGBTQ youth are also overrepresented in the foster care system and are at an increased risk of experiencing placement disruptions and homelessness due to hostility and rejection from family members, foster families, and residents and staff in group homes. LGBTQ youth and adults do not need yet another barrier in their quest for safety and stability.
The public comment for the proposed rule change closes on September 22nd.