Democrats blast HUD for removing LGBT language from grant competition

Dozens of Democrats have signed a letter to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson urging him to reinstate provisions aimed at helping LGBT people as part of the criteria for a competition to receive grants from the agency.

In 2018, the agency included "Addressing the Needs of LGBT Individuals" as one factor groups seeking a grant from the agency were scored on when seeking the funding. That factor was not included in the 2019 scoring, according to competition guidelines.

The 61 lawmakers who signed the letter dated Thursday also questioned why using a Housing First approach, which prioritizing putting the homeless in permanent housing, was also not listed as something that would be scored in the guidelines.

"We are alarmed by changes made to the ... competition which undermine the successful approach of Housing First and HUD's historic commitment to effectively serve transgender people experiencing homelessness," the letter from Democrats states.

"These changes invite discrimination and could result in trans people being denied access to critical homeless services, forcing them to remain on the street and putting them at further risk of physical violence and abuse."

The Hill has reached out to HUD for comment.

The letter was spearheaded by Reps. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), according to a statement from Pressley's office.

The grant competition opened in July and ends Sept. 30.