Press Releases

Wexton Introduces Bill to Block HUD’s Proposed Rule Targeting Transgender People

The legislation was introduced following yesterday’s announcement of a proposed rule to gut Equal Access protections. HUD Secretary Ben Carson assured the Congresswoman the day before that he had no plans to change the Rule.

Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) introduced the Ensuring Equal Access to Shelter Act, which would block a proposed rule by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to allow homeless shelters to deny transgender people equal access to services. The proposal from HUD comes one day after HUD Secretary Ben Carson told Congresswoman Wexton and the House Financial Services Committee that HUD was “not currently anticipating changing the rule.”

The proposed rule, announced yesterday, would gut the Equal Access Rule implemented by HUD in 2012 to ensure shelters do not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“I asked Secretary Carson directly if he was anticipating any changes to HUD’s Equal Access Rule and he said no under oath,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “This change will allow shelters and programs to discriminate against transgender people seeking access to housing.”

“This is a cruel attack on a vulnerable population. Barring a community already subject to alarmingly high levels of violence and abuse from access to life-saving shelter is dangerous. This administration’s relentless assault on the rights of LGBTQ Americans cannot continue.”

WATCH: Secretary Ben Carson tells Congresswoman Wexton, “I’m not going to say what we will do in the future about anything. I’m not currently anticipating changing the rule.”

The full exchange between Secretary Carson and Congresswoman Wexton can be viewed here.

The full text of the bill can be viewed here.

From the National Center for Transgender Equality:
Full and equal access to shelters for transgender people is supported by over 300 national, state, and local organizations working to end domestic and sexual violence, including the YWCA which serves half a million survivors of violence in shelters across the country.

According to the US Transgender Survey:

  • One in four transgender adults experienced some kind of housing bias in the last year including being evicted or denied a home. One in eight Black transgender women were denied a home because they are transgender in the last year.  
  • One in three were homeless in their lifetime and one in eight were homeless in the last year.
  • Those who experienced homelessness were more likely to face physical and sexual violence as well as be forced into survival sex work.
  • Seven in ten of those who accessed a shelter in the previous year were kicked out for being transgender, physically or sexually assaulted, or faced another form of mistreatment because of their gender identity.

According to The Williams Institute, 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ.