|HUD No. 017|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Friday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||January 19, 2001|
HUD OUTREACH EFFORTS TO BETTER EXPLAIN FEDERAL LAWS, RULES REGARDING HOUSING FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
WASHINGTON - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced that HUD is launching a new web site and distributing notices to better explain the rights of people with disabilities who are seeking housing, and the responsibilities of those who house them.
The web site provides a wealth of practical information about Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504 prohibits discrimination based on disability in any federally funded program, including housing and community development.
"While many HUD grantees are meeting their obligation, there are some who are not completely compliant with the laws and the implementing regulations," Cuomo said. "Our goal is 100 percent compliance, which will mean greater access to housing for people who are living with the challenges of a disability."
The new site includes information for HUD grantees -- ranging from developers that build affordable housing units for the elderly to non-profit organizations that create homeless shelters -- on how to comply with Section 504. For people with disabilities and their families, the site provides useful information about their rights under Section 504 and even allows those who may have suffered discrimination to file a complaint with HUD online.
The site is modeled after one created by the U.S. Department of Justice to help people comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"Enforcing Section 504 in housing is critical to getting accessibility for people with disabilities," Stephanie Thomas, National Organizer for ADAPT (American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today) said. "Hopefully, this web site will go a long way toward making compliance happen."
Becca Vaughn, National Coordinator, DRACH, said: "Anything that in a customer-friendly approach makes clear the scope of fair housing and civil rights for people with disabilities, we certainly support. We hope that this will prompt more enforcement."
Beto Barrera, Housing Team Leader, Access Living, Co-founder of DRACH, said: "The main source of housing for people with disabilities is publicly assisted housing. This web site is a step forward in increasing enforcement of Section 504 and a good way to educate developers of publicly assisted housing."
In addition to launching the new web site, HUD is distributing notices to thousands of its grantees that detail their responsibilities not only under Section 504, but also under the Fair Housing Act and other related regulations. Among those receiving the notices are all owners of HUD-funded multifamily properties and participants in HUD's mortgage insurance programs for multifamily properties, as well as recipients of HUD's Community Development Block Grants
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on disability, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and familial status in almost all housing sold and rented in the U.S.