Feds to Hold ‘Focus Groups’ for LGBT Renters

Department pledged between $100,000 and $27 million to study housing discrimination

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UPDATE 10:58 A.M.:

HUD spokesperson Shantae Goodloe told the Washington Free Beacon that the focus groups is part of the second phase of the project that will cost nearly $3 million.

“The second phase of the LGBT study will cost $2.9 million,” she said. “The total cost for the housing discrimination studies conducted between 2010 and present is $22.5 [million]. This includes the first and second phase of the LGBT study and the Housing Discrimination Against Racial and Ethnic Minorities (released in 2013) conducted in partnership with the Urban Institute.”

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will conduct focus groups to see whether Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) individuals face discrimination when looking for apartments.

The department posted a 30-day notice in the Federal Register on Monday, explaining its intention to interview 60 LGBT potential renters and 15 heterosexual renters, and document their experiences in big cities.

“The department is conducting this study as part of a larger effort to study housing discrimination,” the notice said. “As part of that research, the department would like to learn more about the process that people use to search for housing.”

“Specifically, we are interested in the manner in which people identify themselves as lesbian, gay, or transgender when searching for rental housing,” HUD said. “The full project is to conduct in-person testing for lesbian and gay people in at least two major metropolitan rental markets and transgender people in at least one market.”

“The study will use paired testing methods to measure disparate treatment,” the department said.

In 2010, HUD entered into a contract agreeing to spend between $100,000 and $27 million for five years worth of “Housing Discrimination Studies,” including those involving LGBT households and people with disabilities.

“Focus Groups about the Housing Search Process for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) People,” is the latest part of HUD’s campaign, after studying the issue for several years. HUD held town hall events in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City during a “national listening tour” in 2010.

One of the questions HUD seeks to answer is “how would you signal in a conversation with a landlord that an individual, as opposed to a couple, was LGBT?”

The agency has also produced advertisements targeted at LGBT individuals. HUD’s “Live Free” national media campaign featured videos, podcasts, social media, and print ads.

The advertisements read, “Should gender stereotypes influence where you live?”

The focus groups will take an estimated 168.75 hours to complete. HUD did not respond to requests for comment on how much this particular study will cost to complete.