Help Craft Federal Policy on LGBT Housing Discrimination

Categories: Government, LGBT
American Gothic Grant Wood.jpg
Grant Wood
Will you need to look like this to live in federal housing?
In federally funded housing programs, it's illegal for landlords to discriminate based on race, ethnicity -- or even against the guy who says his pit bull keeps him from having panic attacks.

But against homosexuals or the transgendered? No problem there.

That may soon change. While many had hoped President Barack Obama would issue an executive order forbidding discrimination due to sexual orientation, that hasn't happened. Instead, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has come up with a potential "regulation" against such bigotry (other "regulations" require units to, say, have heat or come equipped with a stove). Here's where you come in.

San Franciscan John Trasvina, HUD's assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, wants to hear your thoughts and experiences regarding housing discrimination. He's inviting one and all to a "roundtable discussion" Wednesday at City Hall room 408 from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

San Francisco is not a repository of anti-homosexual bigotry, at least in 2011 (housing discrimination of this sort contravenes both local and state laws, incidentally). It is, however, a repository of people who were born and raised elsewhere. San Franciscans' recollections of discrimination they faced -- here or elsewhere -- is useful for Trasvina. Better understanding the situation could result in a more tightly crafted regulation. At least that's the operating theory. 

Under the proposed regulation, any housing program that received federal money -- even if it only received a minuscule portion from the feds -- would no longer be allowed to play cruel games with homosexuals. Elderly couples being forced to buy different units in assisted living facilities or landlords evicting the partner of a deceased leaseholder would be the sorts of practices that could be curtailed.

Organizers said all are welcome -- even fans of the current policy. Let's see how many of those show up.

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John Colby
John Colby

Section 8 housing is not safe for (perceived) LGBT residents.

Consider the Mission Gardens Apartments in Santa Cruz, yes Santa Cruz, California. It is managed by The John Stewart Company (JSCO) and administered by the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) under contract to HUD.

At Mission Gardens, a gang of adult predators stalk residents they perceive to be LGBT. They attack them with profane, homophobic taunts. They threaten them with assault. Worst, they spread vicious lies using the crudest of stereotypes claiming (perceived) LGBT residents endanger children.

JSCO is hiding this travesty, claiming against objective evidence passed to HUD and CalHFA that this complex is safe. Most of this behavior is grounded in drug and alcohol abuse. Yet HUD and CalHFA continue to deflect responsibility to JSCO (who does nothing).

The government is obligated to protect (perceived) LGBT Section 8 residents.

When will the Mission Gardens Apartments be safe for (perceived) LGBT residents?

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