Community Pays $40K to Settle Housing Discrimination Complaint
The owner of a Virginia community has agreed to pay $40,000 to settle a fair housing case for allegedly refusing to accept Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) as income, according to a recent announcement by Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia, Inc. (HOME). In its HUD complaint, HOME alleged that failure to accept disability income for housing discriminates against people because of their disability, which is a violation of federal fair housing law. The community, W.S. Carnes, Inc., denied that it discriminates against any tenant or prospective tenant on the basis of disability.
HOME reported that HUD facilitated the settlement, which includes a $20,000 fund set aside to make reasonable modifications to the units or complex as requested by people with disabilities or on its own initiative. Another $20,000 will be used to compensate HOME for the time and resources used in the investigation.
Paul Carnes, President of W.S. Carnes, Inc., stated that, “for more than 40 years, we have strived to maintain a welcoming and comfortable environment for all of our tenants at Meadowbrook Apartments, including individuals with disabilities. We take our responsibility to be an equal opportunity housing provider seriously and have always done our best to go above and beyond what is legally required. In this case, even before we found out about HOME’s complaint, we had already changed our rental policy to allow SSDI as an acceptable sole income source after members of our staff learned during an annual training course that excluding SSDI could be considered discriminatory. We fully support HOME’s mission and were glad we could work with them to bring about a prompt and amicable resolution to this case.”