|HUD No. 24-016
HUD Public Affairs
January 25, 2024
HUD and Tennessee Housing Providers Reach Agreement on Disability and VAWA Noncompliance
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it has entered into a Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) with HUD-funded Tennessee housing providers Alco Greenbriar Partners LP, Alco Properties, Inc., and Alco Management, Inc., requiring the respondents to pay $50,000 in compensation to the aggrieved parties. The VCA resolves findings of noncompliance related to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as identified in a Letter of Findings of Noncompliance, as well as findings of noncompliance related to the Violence Against Women Act. Read the Agreement, Letter of Findings and the VAWA Memo.
“Under the Biden-Harris Administration, we are taking on housing discrimination like never before,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “HUD is holding housing providers accountable, and ensuring people who face discrimination have a voice in order to build a fairer nation for all.”
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits the exclusion or discrimination of qualified individuals based on disability in any program receiving federal financial assistance, including from HUD. Similarly, Title II of the ADA prohibits disability discrimination. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) strengthens housing protections for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. VAWA applies to individuals seeking assistance under covered HUD housing programs, authorizing HUD to enforce the law with the same process, rights, and remedies as the Fair Housing Act.
The Letter of Findings of Noncompliance described the respondents’ effective denial of multiple reasonable accommodation or modification requests. HUD also uncovered instances of VAWA noncompliance involving two households that experienced incidents of sexual assault and/or domestic violence and in which the respondents failed to provide the requested VAWA transfers or take any additional action needed to process the requests.
“Housing providers who receive federal assistance are required to ensure equal opportunity in housing for all the residents they serve,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD is committed to using all its tools, including compliance reviews, to ensure housing providers meet their obligations under federal law. We remain committed to rooting out discrimination in housing, including discrimination against individuals with disabilities and survivors covered under VAWA.”
The Agreement stems from a limited compliance review initiated by HUD in November 2022 under Section 504 for Greenbriar Apartments, a 208-unit development in Tennessee owned by Alco Greenbriar Partners, LP (Greenbriar), whose general partner is Alco Properties, Inc. The property is managed by Alco Management, Inc., which manages over 50 multifamily properties throughout the Southeast. The property receives Project Based Rental Assistance through HUD Multifamily Housing.
Following the limited compliance review, the Letter of Findings of Noncompliance was issued in April 2023, describing the respondents’ effective denial of multiple reasonable accommodation or modification requests. The recipient expressed an unwillingness to transfer residents from one Alco property to another when a vacancy that met the need of the requesting tenant was unavailable at Greenbriar. HUD also found that 5% of the units were not accessible to individuals with mobility impairments, and an additional 2% of the units were not accessible to individuals with hearing or vision impairments.
Although VAWA was not within the scope of the compliance review, HUD uncovered instances of VAWA noncompliance involving two households that experienced incidents of sexual assault and/or domestic violence. Two tenants requested VAWA emergency transfers and in both instances, the recipients failed to provide the transfer or take any additional action needed to process the requests. Due to the egregiousness of the respondents’ lack of action and the amount of time that had lapsed since the tenants’ initial requests, the compliance review team addressed the VAWA issues in a separate memorandum to the recipient.
The respondents voluntarily accepted the Department’s invitation to enter negotiations to identify corrective actions that would resolve all the findings and concerns identified during the compliance review. A VCA to resolve the Section 504 findings and VAWA issues was executed on November 10, 2023. Under the VCA, the respondents agreed to $50,000 in monetary compensation for the five (5) aggrieved parties named in the Letter of Findings and VAWA memorandum. The respondents will also amend its reasonable accommodation transfer log, revise the transfer policy, revise its VAWA policies, construct or convert ten (10) UFAS-accessible units, with an additional four (4) units for the hearing and visually impaired and accessible common areas, designate a VAWA Coordinator, respond to VAWA-related grievances and transfer requests within ten (10) days, and attend VAWA training.
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). Housing providers can learn more about their responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications to individuals with disabilities here.
For more information about your rights and responsibilities under VAWA, please visit https://www.hud.gov/vawa. If you believe your rights under VAWA have been violated, you may file a complaint at https://www.hud.gov/fairhousing or dialing (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (Federal Relay Service).