|HUD No. 13-064
May 6, 2013
HUD AND JACKSON COUNTY HOUSING AUTHORITY REACH AGREEMENT TO ENSURE EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AND FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has reached a Voluntary Compliance Agreement with the Jackson County Housing Authority (JCHA) in Murphysboro, Illinois, to increase access for persons with disabilities and families with children under age 18. HUD reviewed JCHA's housing programs and services and determined that the housing authority had not ensured that at least five percent of its units were accessible to persons with disabilities, as required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The review further indicated that JCHA had not allowed children under the age of 18 to reside in housing designated for elderly families, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, prohibits discrimination based on disability in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Under Section 504, a public housing authority must make a minimum of five percent of its total dwelling units accessible to persons with mobility impairments. The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination against families with children under 18 years of age. Public housing or federally assisted housing for the elderly is not exempt from the Fair Housing Act's prohibition against familial status discrimination.
"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the Jackson County Housing Authority, which will provide accessible housing for persons with disabilities and allow minors to live with their elderly parents or grandparents," said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "HUD will continue to work with public housing authorities and other housing providers to ensure that they comply with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Fair Housing Act."
Under the agreement, JCHA will:
- Determine the needs of current residents and those on its application list who are waiting for accessible units, and those who have visual and hearing impairments, and determine how to meet their reasonable accommodation needs;
- Comply with the familial status provisions of the Fair Housing Actand the program requirements for elderly families;
- Conduct a Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards study to ensure that JCHA is complying with Section 504;
- Complete all required modifications within five years of the effective date of the agreement;
- Develop a resident waiting list and application plan; and
- Amend its transfer, reasonable accommodation, effective communication, and pet policies.
Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to www.hud.gov/fairhousing, or by downloading HUD's free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple devices, such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.