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WBK Industry News - Federal Regulatory Developments

Proposed Rule Regarding Equal Access in HUD’s Native American and Native Hawaiian Programs

On May 9, 2016, HUD published a proposed rule in the Federal Register which would revise regulations for HUD’s Native American and Native Hawaiian programs to incorporate existing rules in which HUD programs must be open to all eligible individuals and families regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. Such requirements, including a general prohibition on making inquiries into sexual orientation or gender identity to determine eligibility, have existed with regard to HUD-assisted and HUD-insured housing since HUD published the final rule, “Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs – Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity” in February 2012, which became effective March 5, 2012.

HUD indicated that it has been its intent since the publication of the Equal Access Rule that, after undergoing tribal consultation to solicit feedback on this proposal, it would apply the same non-discrimination requirements to its Native American and Native Hawaiian programs. Specifically, the proposal would require that access be provided without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status in housing assisted or insured under the following regulations: Native American Housing Activities (24 CFR Part 1000); Community Development Block Grants for Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Villages (24 CFR Part 1003); the Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program (24 CFR Part 1005); the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant Program (24 CFR Part 1006); and Section 184A Loan Guarantees For Native Hawaiian Housing (24 CFR Part 1007). If this rule and HUD’s proposed rule entitled “Equal Access in Accordance with an Individual’s Gender Identity in Community Planning and Development Programs” (published November 20, 2015, which would remove the prohibition of inquiries imposed by the Equal Access Rule) become final, the changes proposed in the latter rule would apply to the Native American and Native Hawaiian programs as well.

Comments to the proposed rule are due July 8, 2016. The proposed rule can be found at: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-05-09/pdf/2016-10753.pdf.