HUD No. 08-112
July 25, 2008
HUD AND CUYAHOGA COUNTY ANNOUNCE PLAN TO CREATE MORE ACCESSIBLE HOUSING
Voluntary agreement will help persons with disabilities and seniors
CLEVELAND - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) today announced a voluntary agreement to create 482 fully accessible units for senior citizens and residents with disabilities.
"This agreement goes a long way toward creating more homes that residents with disabilities so desperately need," said Kim Kendrick, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "This week we recognize the 18th anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act and I can think of no more fitting tribute than this collaboration. Creating more affordable housing opportunities for persons with disabilities fulfills both the purpose and intent of this landmark law."
In addition to creating accessible housing, the agreement makes CMHA an active coordinating agency in the "Money Follows the Person (MFP) Rebalancing Initiative," ensuring that eligible participants will be given the highest priority for available housing units. The MFP Initiative expands accessible, affordable and integrated housing options for people with disabilities and seniors, helping with the transition from institutions back into home and community-based settings.
CMHA's Chief Executive Officer George A. Phillips said, "CMHA is proud to be a part of the MFP Initiative. It will provide assistance to individuals with disabilities who have previously been unable to access housing and health care in community based settings. Hopefully, housing authorities across the country will participate as CMHA has committed to doing."
Under the new agreement, CMHA will:
- Create a minimum of five percent (482 units) of its housing stock into fully accessible units that will include lower kitchen counters, grab bars, and other features of accessible design;
- Make improvements in the management of their housing wait list to maximize the availability of accessible units for individuals with disabilities and their families;
- Ensure that applicants and residents with disabilities who rely on assistance animals have equal, unrestricted access to CMHA's programs;
- Ensure the continued availability of set-aside vouchers for persons with disabilities; and
- Train current and new employees about the responsibilities and procedures created under this agreement.
"This was truly a good faith collaborative effort between HUD and CMHA, where we rolled up our sleeves and created a program that will assist the county's individuals with disabilities and hopefully serve as a model for other housing authorities as they develop programs to support their communities' citizens with disabilities," said Adrian Thompson, partner in Taft Stettinius & Hollister's Cleveland office. Thompson represented CMHA in negotiating the agreement with HUD.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development, and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.