Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST is an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) designed to promote compliance with the Fair Housing Act design and construction requirements. The program consists of a comprehensive training curriculum, as well as a toll-free information line and website designed to provide technical guidance to the public.
Our program name, Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST, has dual significance. FIRST describes the services offered by the program: Fair Housing Information, Resources, Support, and Technical Guidance. It also conveys the importance of planning for compliance with the accessibility requirements first - before engineering, before design, before construction. Not only does federal law require compliance, it is easier and cheaper to plan and build in compliance with the law than it is to retrofit a structure after construction.
Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST Project History
With Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST, public and private owners, developers, architects, operators of housing, and others will learn how to engage in practices that do not discriminate against people with disabilities. In order to create this training and technical guidance program to meet the needs of the many diverse stakeholders, former program administrator BearingPoint conducted an extensive Needs Analysis designed to ascertain the information needed to effectively tailor the program and encourage participation.
The Needs Analysis consisted of a web survey, stakeholder interviews and extensive research; it included feedback from over 850 respondents throughout the country. As a result of the analysis, recommendations for the design and implementation of Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST were approved by HUD.
Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST has been contracted by HUD to provide information, materials, and technical assistance to all relevant stakeholders about the accessibility design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Act as amended in 1988. However, Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST is not responsible for enforcement of the Fair Housing Act. The information, materials, and technical assistance are intended solely as informal guidance and are neither a determination of legal responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act nor binding on any agency with enforcement responsibility under the Fair Housing Act.