|HUD No. 18-082
HUD Public Affairs
August 20, 2018
HUD REACHES AGREEMENT WITH CALIFORNIA HOUSING PROVIDERS SETTLING CLAIMS OF DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has reached a Conciliation/Voluntary Compliance Agreement with Christian Church Homes and Garfield Park Village, LP, in Oakland and Santa Cruz, California, resolving allegations that they discriminated against an applicant with disabilities when they rejected her request for modifications to a wheelchair accessible unit and bypassed her application for the unit, instead renting it to a family that had applied at a later date and had no member in need of the accessible features of the unit. Read the agreement.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against persons with disabilities. In addition, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance, including providing modifications that are necessary for persons with disabilities.
"Requests for reasonable accommodations aren't requests for special treatment. They give persons with disabilities the opportunity to fully enjoy their homes," said Anna María Farías, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "Hopefully the settlement we're announcing today will help other housing providers to recognize and comply with their obligation to uphold the nation's housing laws."
The case came to HUD's attention when a woman with a disability filed a complaint alleging that she had been denied the opportunity to rent one of two wheelchair accessible units at Garfield Park Village, using her Housing Choice Voucher. According to the complaint, the woman was first on the wait list for both units. She requested that she be allowed to further modify the unit to meet her needs. Her modification request, however, allegedly was denied and instead the unit was rented to a family that applied for the unit after her which had no members that needed the unit's accessible features.
Under the terms of the agreement, Christian Church Homes and Garfield Park Village, LP, will pay the woman $7,500 and allow her to remain on the wait list for another accessible unit. Christian Church Homes will also modify its policies and procedures to make it clear that the processing of an applicant's reasonable accommodation and/or modification request should not unreasonably delay a decision on tenancy or cause an applicant to be skipped over for an available unit in favor of an applicant who applied at a later date. In addition, Christian Church Homes will not rent an accessible unit to an applicant who does not need the unit's accessibility features when there is a pending application from an eligible qualified applicant with disabilities who requires the accessibility features.
April 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. In commemoration, HUD, local communities, housing advocates, and fair housing organizations across the country have coordinated a variety of activities to enhance awareness of fair housing rights, highlight HUD's fair housing enforcement efforts, and end housing discrimination in the nation. For a list of planned activities, log onto www.hud.gov/fairhousingis50.
Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).