The Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) has approved two measures that strengthen protections for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) families and individuals. The Commission voted unanimously to amend the Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) to bolster equal treatment when offering housing opportunities and employing contractors. It was amended to specifically prohibit discrimination against individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity, in addition to other protected attributes such as race, age and disability.
“At a time when the basic civil rights of individuals are being attacked across the country, it is important for Missouri to send a clear message that we are fully committed to fair and equal access to housing projects,” said State Treasurer Clint Zweifel.
The Commission includes the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Treasurer, Attorney General and six persons appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.
The second measure expands equal protection for individuals based on gender identity in MHDC’s “Standards of Conduct,” which apply to employees, clients and any entity that does business with the Commission. Sexual orientation has been protected in the Standards of Conduct since 2009.
“Even in 2016, Missourians can still be denied housing or evicted simply because they are gay or transgender,” said PROMO Executive Director Steph Perkins. “We are grateful to the Missouri Housing Development Commission for adding protections for LGBT renters and contractors. Through these simple steps, many Missourians will have access to housing without the fear or reality of discrimination, regardless of who they are or who they love.”
In its April meeting, MHDC approved the Standards of Conduct revision and gave initial support to the revised QAP. Following a public comment period, the QAP revisions won final approval at today’s meeting. The changes are consistent with Housing and Urban Development federal standards; they are effective immediately.
The MHDC administers, and provides financing for, the construction of affordable housing. The Commission also provides funding for home loans to qualified, first-time buyers through a network of certified, private mortgage lenders. Mortgage financing is facilitated through the sale of mortgage-backed securities and through the sale of tax-exempt bonds that the Commission is authorized to issue.