Federal Government Guarantees Equal Access to Many Homeless Shelters for Transgender People

Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a final rule ensuring equal access to many federally funded homeless shelters based on gender identity. The rule requires that shelters admit, house, and serve all individuals in accordance with their gender identity, including transgender people.  Today’s final rule builds off of nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity issued by HUD in 2012.

“No individual should fear discrimination when seeking shelter, particularly when taxpayer funds are involved,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Too many transgender people must choose between living on the streets or being mistreated in a shelter.  This lifesaving rule will help more transgender people gain access to safe and affirming housing.”

Transgender people face high rates of housing discrimination and homelessness. One in four transgender people report experiencing homelessness in their lives and nearly half of transgender people seeking emergency shelter have been required to be housed based on their sex assigned at birth.  Those who stay in this housing face high rates of physical and sexual assault from other residents or shelter staff.

Earlier this year, HRC submitted 365 comments from our members and supporters in support of this proposed rule change.  This final rule adds another vital layer of protection for transgender people living in homeless shelters across the country.

To learn more about HRC’s federal advocacy work, visit