HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 01-120
Further Information:
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685
Or contact your local HUD office
For Release
November 30, 2001


WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez today announced the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) has signed voluntary compliance agreements committing to make more than 500 fully- accessible public housing units available to residents with disabilities.

"Today's announcement illustrates the Administration's commitment to expanding housing opportunities for people with disabilities," Martinez said. "We will vigorously monitor the District's compliance with the terms of these agreements to ensure fair housing for all Americans."

DCHA signed two separate agreements. One addresses outstanding compliance issues and the second addresses issues relating to the designation of personnel to implement and monitor its compliance; the adoption and implementation of policies and procedures and; training of its current and future staff, and Board of Commissioners.

Under the agreements, DCHA will:

  • Make 6 percent of its housing stock (about 510 units) fully- accessible to persons with mobility impairments; and make up to 2 percent more (about 170 units) of its housing stock accessible, as needed, to residents who have visual or hearing disabilities (this would include such items as visual fire alarms for people with hearing impairments);

  • Comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ("Section 504"), prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities in federally assisted programs and requiring at least 5 percent of available units be totally accessible.

  • Retrofit a minimum of 108 existing public housing units annually, for three years. The remaining 186 of the 510 will be newly constructed units and they must be completed within five years. The agreement allows for an exception for 80 new construction units in the Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg development being built under a recently announced HUD HOPE VI grant.

Within the next 90 days, DCHA has also agreed to advise residents of their right to request reasonable accommodations, including accessible features, as provided for under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Also, upon a tenant's request, with the appropriate supporting documentation, the Housing Authority will reimburse residents for any reasonable accommodation modifications made at the resident's expense due to DCHA's prior failure or refusal to make reasonable modifications.

Martinez also noted the importance of the "reasonable accommodation" commitment. "Something as simple as installing a door lever for a doorknob can make a difference in the quality of a person's life. Until now, there has been no mechanism in place for residents who needed these modifications," he said.

The Housing Authority will provide requested modifications to the dwelling units of at least 75 households per quarter for minor modifications. It will also develop and submit a plan to HUD for its review and approval to complete major modifications costing more than $500.

Progress reports must be provided to HUD and the Housing Authority will submit to inspections of all the converted and newly constructed units to ensure they are in compliance with federal regulations. Failure to comply with the agreements could lead to loss of federal funding and possible court action by the Department of Justice.


Anyone who believes they have experienced housing discrimination is asked to call HUD's Housing Discrimination Hotline at 1-800-669-9777.

Content Archived: March 26, 2010