|HUD No. 21-086
HUD Public Affairs
May 14, 2021
HUD REACHES AGREEMENT TO RESOLVE DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT AND DELIVER AFFORDABLE ACCESSIBLE HOUSING IN PUERTO RICO
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has reached a Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) with the Rio Plata Housing Development and the Puerto Rico Housing Finance Authority (PRHFA), resolving allegations of disability discrimination and ensuring accessibility in federally-funded housing developments across Puerto Rico. The VCA leverages a federal $2.5 million PRHFA-awarded Housing Trust Fund grant to bring the Rio Plata Housing Development into compliance with federal accessibility requirements. The Agreement also requires Rio Plata to pay $100,000 in relief to resolve the discrimination complaint that was filed with HUD. Rio Plata provides 90 units of affordable housing for income-qualifying families. Read the Voluntary Compliance Agreement (English Language Version) (Spanish Language Version).
The VCA stems from allegations of discrimination and inaccessible housing against Rio Plata that left a resident without the use of a bedroom or bathroom in her home since approximately 2014 because of her mobility disability. Additionally, the Agreement builds upon commitments made to HUD by PRFHA in 2017 to remove accessibility barriers from affordable housing developments across its portfolio and bring properties into compliance with federal accessibility standards. The PRHFA administers funding to over 18,000 affordable housing units at approximately 160 developments in Puerto Rico through HUD’s Section 8 Project Based Rental Assistance program.
“HUD is committed to overcoming and redressing this Nation’s history of housing discrimination and we will deliver on this promise for the residents of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,” said Jeanine Worden, Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Those who accept HUD funds to provide affordable housing make a commitment to not discriminate and that means delivering housing that is accessible for persons with disabilities and their families. We will ensure these commitments are kept.”
HUD will continue to support the development of affordable housing in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and announced that an additional $3.2 million in Housing Trust Fund dollars was committed on April 20, 2021 to further this effort. The Department, through this Agreement, will provide support and oversight to Puerto Rico in its administration of these and other federal funds to ensure low-income, individuals with disabilities in Puerto Rico can access affordable housing.
HUD enforces the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. HUD also enforces other federal fair housing laws, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, that prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities by requiring accessibility in programs, activities, services, and facilities receiving federal funds.
Individuals who believe they have experienced discrimination in housing may file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (Federal Relay Service).