WASHINGTON (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued new regulations ensuring that eligible persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, have access to important housing programs. The final rule includes several provisions for the two groups, including equal access to HUD-assisted housing and FHA mortgage programs. Regulations also prohibit owners of HUD-assisted housing to ask about applicants’ sexual orientation and gender identity in determining program eligibility. The new published rule goes into effect March 5, according to the Texas Association of Realtors.