April 3, 2006
ANNUAL FAIR HOUSING REPORT INDICATES RISE IN DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS FROM PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
HUD Charges Landlord with Discrimination on the Basis of Disability
WASHINGTON - A fair housing report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development highlights the increase in housing discrimination complaints filed by persons with disabilities. The annual report, which goes to Congress this week, also details HUD's handling of 9,254 housing discrimination complaints and documents significant trends in housing discrimination.
In fiscal year 2005, HUD and state and local agencies funded by HUD's Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) saw an eight percent rise in the number of complaints alleging housing discrimination against persons with disabilities, making disability discrimination the most common complaint.
Complaints alleging disability discrimination made up 40 percent of the cases filed with HUD and its state and local partners. Allegations of discrimination based on race made up 38 percent of the cases and 22 percent of cases alleging that a housing provider refused to make a reasonable accommodation to their rules or procedures in order to assist a person with a disability.
"This report confirmed the need for HUD to continue to aggressively protect the rights of persons with disabilities," explained Kim Kendrick, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "No one should be denied housing because they require a guide-dog, an assigned parking space, or some other reasonable accommodation because of a disability."
With the release of this report, HUD announces it has filed a charge against the owners and managers of a Ypsilanti, Michigan apartment complex for retaliating against Harry Tyus because a judge ordered them to make a reasonable accommodation to permit him to pay rent on a different day of the month to coincide with his receipt of his social security benefits.
HUD also announced that a woman who won a $1 million settlement in a recent "reasonable accommodations" case will speak in Washington at a HUD ceremony on April 4, 2006, to commemorate the anniversary of the Federal Fair Housing Act.
Shirley Carper filed a complaint with HUD after a San Francisco condominium complex refused to provide her with a parking space closer to her apartment as degenerative joint disease made it painful for her to climb stairs from the lower-level parking spaces to her unit. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing investigated the complaint under agreement with HUD and obtained a $1 million settlement for compensatory damages in state court.
In FY 2005, HUD released the results of the first examination of housing discrimination faced by people with disabilities, Barriers at Every Step. This report found that a third of the rental properties in the Chicago area are inaccessible to persons with disabilities. In addition, nearly 20 percent of housing providers with on-site parking refused to make the reasonable accommodation of providing a designated accessible parking space for a wheelchair user.
Other areas highlighted in the FY 2005 report include:
- In fiscal year 2005, HUD and its FHAP agencies settled or conciliated 3,092 cases. In addition to the cases settled, FHAP agencies found "reasonable cause" to believe discrimination occurred in 428 cases. HUD issued a charge of discrimination in an additional 47 complaints.
- Between August 25, 2004, and August 24, 2005, Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST, an initiative designed to promote compliance with the Fair Housing Act design and construction requirements, trained 1,443 people through 24 training sessions in 19 states. As a result of FIRST Training, 357,501 multifamily units will be constructed in an accessible manner.
April marks the 38th Anniversary of the signing of the Fair Housing Act. This year's theme is, "Fair Housing: It's Not an Option... It's the Law."
For more information about these accomplishments and cases HUD has brought, please visit the FY 2005 Annual Report on Fair Housing.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, and people with disabilities. 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 and espanol.hud.gov.
People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at (800) 669-9777 or DOJ at (800) 896-7743 or 202-514-4713. Additional information is available at www.hud.gov and www.usdoj.gov.