The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Commission has unanimously approved a policy requiring providers to serve clients in accordance with their gender identity.
The policy, which expands on a directive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, ensures equal access for transgender and gender-diverse people.
It pertains to six service areas: access to sex-segregated services and facilities, access to family programs and facilities, access to bathrooms, ensuring safety and privacy, use of names and personal gender pronouns and Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) data collection and intake forms.
The policy adopted by the LAHSA Commission explicitly states that all persons who are eligible to receive services through LAHSA-contracted programs have the right to do so at a facility that serves the gender with which they identify. Persons who do not identify as male or female have the right to be served where they feel safest.
“As a faith leader in Los Angeles and the chair of the LAHSA commission, I am proud that we affirm our commitment to everyone who is experiencing homelessness regardless of gender,” said Rabbi Noah Farkas, commission chair. “The person-first, just and appropriate housing solution for anyone seeking shelter is one that conforms to the populace that it serves, not the other way around.”
“This policy enables LAHSA and its partners to bring synergy between quality and equality,” said Rev. Kelvin Sauls, LAHSA commissioner and senior pastor of Holman United Methodist Church. “We seek to communicate with urgency and clarity that discrimination in any way, shape or form will not be tolerated.”
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is a joint powers authority of the City and County of Los Angeles, created in 1993 to address the problems of homelessness in Los Angeles County. LAHSA is the lead agency in the HUD-funded Los Angeles Continuum of Care and coordinates and manages more than $243 million annually in federal, state, county and city funds for programs providing shelter, housing and services to homeless persons. For more information visit www.lahsa.org.