HUD Archives: News Releases
April 5, 2002
Bush Administration Increasing Housing for People with Disabilities
HUD announces Boston Housing Authority will make nearly 700 units available
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez today announced
the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) has signed a Voluntary Compliance Agreement
committing to make nearly 700 fully-accessible public housing units available
to residents with disabilities.
"As we highlight Fair Housing Month, today's announcement illustrates
the Administration's commitment to expanding housing opportunities for people
with disabilities," Martinez said. "We will vigorously monitor the
Housing Authority's compliance with the terms of these agreements to ensure
fair housing for all Americans."
Under the agreement, the Boston Housing Authority will:
- Make 5 percent of its housing stock (about 13,800 units) fully-accessible
to persons with mobility impairments. Structural modifications must begin
no later than July 1, 2002 and must be completed by December 30, 2005.
- Develop uniform communication practices to make information concerning
BHA programs accessible to persons with disabilities and provide routine notice
on all public documents of the rights of persons with disabilities to request
- Enhance its process for assigning vacant units to further assure that families
needing those features occupy units with accessibility features.
- Promote consultation with advocates for persons with disabilities and ensure
that whenever accessible units are available, and there is no one on the waiting
list needing one, the vacancy will be referred to a statewide registry of
- Provide additional training to key staff on the provisions of the agreement
and on compliance with disability laws generally, including the Authority's
duty to reasonably accommodate persons with all types of disabilities.
The Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) stems from a review HUD began in September
of 2000 of the BHA's compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of
1973 and HUD's implementing regulation. This regulation prohibits discrimination
against people with disabilities in federally-assisted programs; requires at
least 5 percent of all newly constructed units be totally accessible; and, requires
2 percent of the units meet the needs of hearing or vision-impaired persons.
HUD initiated the review after HUD staff observed possible violations while
visiting BHA developments in connection with other monitoring.
A needs assessment conducted by the BHA's shows an overall need of 3.8 percent
of units be accessible in the City of Boston and 4.8 percent in the greater-Boston
area. Therefore, the 5 percent requirement in the VCA slightly exceeds the amount
required under HUD's regulations.
According to the BHA, it has about 300 units fully accessible toward the goal
of 690. Under the agreement HUD will inspect these units, and additional units
as they become available, to verify that they comply with federal standards.
The BHA also agreed to adopt new reasonable accommodation procedures and develop
criteria for determining whether a request is "reasonable". The Authority
further agreed to expedite accommodation requests for vision and hearing impaired
tenants and applicants.
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
This is the second major housing authority within six months to sign a voluntary
agreement. In December, the District of Columbia Housing Authority agreed to
make more than 500 of its public housing fully accessible for people with disabilities.
April has traditionally been Fair Housing Month ever since Congress paid tribute
to Dr. Martin Luther King, who was killed April 4, by passing the Civil Rights
Act of 1968. Included in that landmark legislation was Title VIII, the Fair
Anyone who believes they have experienced housing discrimination is asked to
call HUD's Housing Discrimination Hotline at 1-800-669-9777. They can also visit
HUD's fair housing website at http://www.hud.gov/complaints/housediscrim.cfm
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing minority homeownership,
creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans, supporting
the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS.
The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces
the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs
is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov.
Content Archived: April 9, 2010