Statement on Proposed Changes to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Equal Access Rule

The National Alliance to End Homelessness opposes the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to HUD’s Equal Access Rule, which would eliminate protections to ensure that transgender people experiencing homelessness can access shelter.  

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising levels of unsheltered homelessness, it is unconscionable that the Administration would allow publicly-funded shelters to deny access to life-saving assistance to people who need it most. Yet, that is precisely what this rule change would do.  

The proposal allows shelters that have decided to serve people based upon their sex (male or female shelters, for example) to,  establish a policy that places and accommodates individuals on the basis of their biological sex, without regard to their gender identity.” The shelters would then be authorized to turn away someone based upon their “good faith belief” of the client’s biological sex.  

There is no “good faith” in discrimination. The people most impacted by this rule are staggeringly vulnerable. A recent analysis finds that an estimated 63 percent of homeless transgender adults and 80 percent of homelessness gender non-binary adults are unsheltered. African American transgender adults are disproportionately vulnerable to homelessness and poverty and also disproportionately likely to experience violence and death on the street. To undertake this discriminatory change during a public health crisis and at a moment of national awakening around the corrosive and destructive impacts of discrimination is egregious. 

Our nation cannot protect its citizens and residents or end homelessness if federal agencies allow nonprofit shelters to refuse to use public funds to help people in need simply because of their gender identities. The National Alliance to End Homelessness calls on the Trump Administration to abandon this discriminatory proposal.