Washington, D.C. — For the past six months, millions of Americans have watched their financial standing deteriorate rapidly thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As a result, an unprecedented number of residents are facing housing instability.
It is in the midst of this impending housing crisis that the Trump administration is proposing a new set of federal rules designed to deny shelter for transgender people experiencing homelessness.
A recently proposed rule change from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) seeks to undermine the 2016 Equal Access Rule that was put in place by the Obama administration. The new proposal attempts to strip away protections against gender identity discrimination and would allow shelters to deny transgender people equal access to sex-segregated shelters by limiting shelter access based on assumptions of a person’s biological sex and not their gender identity.
The rule change is especially pernicious given that transgender people experience homelessness at a disproportionately high rate. Homelessness among transgender individuals has increased by 88 percent since 2016, and 63 percent of the transgender homeless population does not reside in a shelter or in transitional housing. A new nationally representative CAP survey found that 87 percent of transgender respondents reported it would be somewhat difficult, very difficult, or impossible to find an alternative shelter if they were refused.
“People who are transgender or gender-nonconforming face tremendous difficulty accessing safe shelter,” said Sharita Gruberg, senior director for the LGBTQ Research and Communications Project at CAP and a co-author of the issue brief. “Rather than complying with its obligations under the law and the agency’s mission to build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination, under the leadership of Secretary Ben Carson, HUD is pursuing a discriminatory agenda and with this latest proposal, sanctioning government-sponsored discrimination against transgender people.”
Read the issue brief: “The Trump Administration’s Latest Attack on Transgender People Facing Homelessness” by Theo Santos, Lindsay Mahowald, and Sharita Gruberg.
For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Adam Peck at gro.ssergorpnacirema@kcepa.