HUD Announces Settlement in Dallas Housing Discrimination Case
The settlement is the result of an investigation that followed a complaint filed against DHA over its refusal to grant a reasonable accommodation request by the tenant.
HUD alleged that DHA violated “several civil rights laws” when it “failed to grant her reasonable request to move to a ground-floor unit after a car accident precluded her ability to climb the stairs to her second-floor apartment” according to the HUD official site.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a Letter of Findings in this particular case, noting that the DHA “discriminated against the tenant in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)” and HUD’s charge also alleges there were violations of the Fair Housing Act.
HUD’s findings included recognition that the lack of reasonable accommodation from the Housing Authority of the City of Dallas forced the tenant to “crawl up and down the stairs to access or leave her home, causing her physical pain, injury, and humiliation.”
HUD also accused the Housing Authority of the City of Dallas of retaliation following the tenant’s request for reasonable accommodation. DHA denied any wrongdoing, according to the HUD press release.
Each of the laws mentioned above (Fair Housing Act, Section 504, and the Americans With Disabilities Act) forbid discrimination in housing because of disability. It is illegal to refuse a reasonable accommodation “when necessary” to provide equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling.
“Reasonable accommodations are essential to ensuring that individuals with disabilities have equal opportunity to enjoy and benefit from their housing,” according to Demetria McCain, the HUD Principal Deputy Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. McCain was quoted in the HUD press release, adding, “Public housing agencies are not exempt from fair housing laws.”
DHA must pay $500,000 to the tenant, and the agreement requires DHA to take steps to vacate all judgments it obtained against the tenant and eliminate any associated indebtedness.
As part of the agreement, DHA is required to “overhaul its reasonable accommodation policies and pre-eviction grievance hearing procedures to ensure compliance with the civil rights laws” according to the HUD official site.
Have you experienced housing discrimination? File a complaint with the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (Relay). You can file Fair Housing complaints online at hud.gov/fairhousing.
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