HUD No. 03-098
September 30, 2003
HUD REQUIRES Puerto Rico HOUSING AUTHORITY TO RESERVE SOME 2800 UNITS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Housing Authority Must Produce At Least 303 Units Annually
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing Carolyn Peoples today announced the Puerto Rico Public Housing Administration (PRPHA) has signed a voluntary compliance agreement committing to make more than 2,800 fully accessible public housing units available to residents with disabilities. Under the terms of the agreement, the PRHPA will meet the obligation by August 31, 2010.
As the nation's second largest public housing authority, the PRPHA oversees some 56,000 units in 52 towns throughout the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
"Today's announcement is further evidence of the Bush Administration's commitment to expanding housing opportunities for people with disabilities," Peoples said. "We will vigorously monitor the PRPHA's compliance with the terms of the agreement to ensure fair housing for all of the Commonwealth's citizens."
Earlier this year HUD's on-site review documented significant deficiencies related to the physical accessibility of the common areas and individual housing units as well as deficiencies in the PRPHA's policies and procedures. The terms of the agreement between HUD and the PRPHA address outstanding compliance issues with previously cited four federal laws, the designation of personnel to implement and monitor compliance with Section 504, the ADA, the Fair Housing Act and the terms of the agreement; the adoption and implementation of policies and procedures; and, training of current and future staff.
Under the terms of the agreement, the PRPHA will:
- Construct or convert a minimum of five percent - at least 2,803 units - housing units accessible for individuals who use wheelchairs, and an additional two percent - 561 units - into housing units accessible for individuals with hearing or visual disabilities. PRPHA must produce these units at the rate of 303 for the first two years of the agreement, and at the rate of 500 units per year for the third through seventh years of this agreement.
- Ensure that its non-housing facilities, such as management offices, laundry rooms, community and day care centers and recreation rooms, are accessible to persons with disabilities.
- Computerize its waiting and tenant lists, and post its waiting list on a website so that applicants can track their status. The Housing Authority will also provide each regional office with a dedicated computer to enable applicants to track their status.
- Hire or appoint a qualified Voluntary Compliance Agreement Administrator and a Section 504/ADA Coordinator.
- Create and maintain a website that updates residents about the PRPHA's revised Policies and Procedures.
- Train all employees about the Authority's duties, responsibilities and procedures under this agreement, Section 504, the ADA, the Fair Housing Act and the Architectural Barriers Act.
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.
Anyone who believes they have experienced housing discrimination should call HUD's Housing Discrimination Hotline at 1 (800) 669-9777.