Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, is American legislation that guarantees certain rights to people with disabilities. It was one of the first U.S. federal civil rights laws offering protection for people with disabilities.
HUD has published in the Federal Register an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking entitled "Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability: Updates to HUD's Section 504 Regulations." This year, 2023, marks the 35th anniversary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s publication of its implementing regulation for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”). Section 504 prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in any program or activity that receives Federal funds from HUD. Specifically, Section 504 provides that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Section 504 is codified at 29 U.S.C. 794(a). Under Section 504, all recipients and subrecipients of federal financial assistance from HUD must comply with Section 504 and HUD’s Section 504 implementing regulation at 24 CFR part 8.
Since HUD promulgated its Section 504 regulation in 1988, the percentage of the U.S. population of individuals with disabilities has increased and diversified. HUD has continued to find discrimination on the basis of disability in HUD-assisted programs and activities, as well as an ongoing need for affordable, accessible, and integrated housing opportunities for individuals with disabilities who are eligible for the programs and activities administered by recipients of federal financial assistance from HUD. In addition, HUD has observed significant changes in building practices and technology since 1988.
HUD’S SECTION 504 ADVANCE NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING
HUD’s Section 504 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) acknowledges the need to align HUD’s Section 504 regulation with environmental, societal, and technological advances and emerging issues. Therefore, HUD is providing this advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to seek the public’s input on potential changes to its regulation implementing Section 504 for recipients of HUD federal financial assistance. The Department is seeking information on what it should consider when revising its Section 504 regulation relating to Recipients' obligations, including how to account for advances in accessible design, the use of websites and other technology, and auxiliary aids and services, including assistive technologies, that have become available since HUD’s Section 504 regulation were originally published in 1988. In addition, the Department is considering whether to adopt an updated Federal accessibility standard for purposes of compliance with HUD’s Section 504 regulation. Specifically, HUD’s Section 504 ANPRM asks the public, including individuals with disabilities, HUD recipients, such as public housing agencies, States, or local governments, Tribes, housing providers, and social service providers, to respond to a number of questions that relate to HUD’s existing Section 504 regulation before HUD proposes regulatory changes for comment.
WHEN AND HOW TO SUBMIT COMMENTS
Members of the public will have 90 days to submit comments on the ANPRM and comments must be submitted by July 24, 2023. Please refer to the details outlined in the Federal Register for guidance about submitting comments by this deadline. For additional tips for submitting effective comments, please visit HUD’s guidance on submitting effective comments. Please note that this guidance is applicable to numerous types of requests for public comment, including this ANPRM. When submitting comments, be sure to include the docket number and title of the ANPRM on any comments you submit. The docket number for this ANPRM is FR-6257-A-01 and the title of this ANPRM is Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability: Updates to HUD's Section 504 Regulations.
HUD has included specific questions for comment contained in the ANPRM on areas of particular interest to HUD. HUD also welcomes general comments on any aspect of its Section 504 regulations or how the Department can improve the administration of its federally assisted and federally conducted programs to ensure its own compliance with Section 504.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
To leave an electronic comment, please visit the Federal Register website here.
Please find a press release announcing the ANPRM here.
For more information about FHEO’s disability resources and enforcement of disability-related civil rights laws, Please visit our disability resources page here.