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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Help Craft Federal Policy on LGBT Housing Discrimination

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 9:59 AM

click to enlarge Will you need to look like this to live in federal housing? - GRANT WOOD
  • 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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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" is a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly, which he has written for since 2007. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers... more


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