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Quigley and Carson spar over LGBT youth homelessness
by Matt Simonette
2019-04-03

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U.S. Housing and Urban Development ( HUD ) Secretary Ben Carson faced questions from a House subcommittee April 3 over his agency's response, or lack thereof, to the homelessness and housing instability crisis amongst LGBT persons.

When confronted about HUD's lack of anti-discrimination guidance, Carson offered in a meeting of the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development ( T-HUD ) Appropriations Subcommittee that publication of such rules "confused the issue."

HUD has removed language—introduced with various rules in 2012 and 2016—offering guidance to stakeholder agencies and organizations that would protect LGBT youth utilizing their services. HUD said last year that the language would be reviewed by Sept. 2018, a deadline they missed. U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley ( IL-5 ) said that he was notified in March that the replacement would not be forthcoming.

"For the community, this decision hurts," Quigley said in an April 3 hearing that was detailed in a statement later that day.

Carson replied that the agency had agreed to review the rules, not necessarily restore them. He also said that the 2016 regulation "obliterated" and confused the rules.

Quigley countered that, "The grantees need the guidance to make clear to them what the rules are."

Though Carson said the rules remained fundamentally unchanged, he ultimately suggested that no language might be better than publication of the actual interpretation HUD was going by internally: "From my conversations with many legal experts throughout government, my suspicion is that you would probably dislike the sub-regulatory guidance that would be put up."

When Quigley pressed as to why, Carson reiterated: "Because you probably wouldn't agree with it."

The HUD secretary summed up his position that publication would lead to more confusion: "If you have a rule that tells you what to do, you don't need more guidance on that."

Quigley ended his questioning with, "We are now more stupid than when we came into the room today."

The congressman has long been pushing Carson and his agency over the matter. Carson first met with local advocates about LGBT homelessness and housing instability in June 2017.


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