California Housing Authority Settles Disability Discrimination Complaint

A California housing authority recently reached an agreement to settle a HUD complaint alleging discrimination against a resident with disabilities. Federal fair housing law prohibits housing discrimination because of a disability, including refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices when a person with a disability requires such an accommodation.

In the complaint, a resident with a disability alleged that the housing authority failed to renew his Housing Choice Voucher before it expired. The resident said he submitted a request to have the voucher renewed before it expired, but the housing authority thought that he didn’t want the voucher renewed. The complaint alleged legal advocates sent the housing authority several requests to reinstate the voucher as a reasonable accommodation, since any miscommunication may have been due to the resident’s disability, but the housing authority refused. As a result, the resident was forced to place his belongings in storage and live in homeless shelters and with relatives, according to the complaint.

The settlement agreement requires the housing authority to pay the resident $5,833 as reimbursement for the storage fees and to provide a new Housing Choice Voucher.

“Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities can mean the difference between having a place to call home and being homeless,” HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Anna María Farías, said in a statement. “HUD will continue working to ensure that no person loses his or her home because of their disability, and that housing providers understand and meet their responsibility to comply with the nation’s fair housing laws.”