HUD: Veterans Deserve to Live Free from Housing Discrimination
To mark Veteran’s Day, HUD's theme this year is “Honoring Our Women Veterans,” according to a posting on HUD's blog, The HUDdle. Recalling his service on the frontlines during the Vietnam War, Robert Walker, Director of Education and Outreach, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, wrote, “I know that if it were not for the women who served in vital medical roles during that war, I probably would not be alive today.”
Under the Fair Housing Act, it’s illegal to deny housing or discriminate against someone based on his or her disability, gender, race, color, national origin, familial status, or religion. Although federal fair housing law does not prohibit discrimination solely based on a veteran’s status, Walker observed that some veterans face discrimination because of a disability.
Last month, for example, HUD charged a Utah homeowner association, property management company, and a group of condominium owners with violating the Fair Housing Act for refusing to accommodate a Gulf War veteran who allegedly required an emotional support dog because of a disability. Last year, HUD filed a similar charge against landlords in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on behalf of a Vietnam-era veteran. HUD claimed the landlords refused to allow the veteran, who was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, to have a therapeutic service dog in his apartment. HUD also charged a Miami housing provider with discrimination for refusing to make one of its units accessible for a veteran who uses a wheelchair.
“Housing discrimination against a veteran with a disability or any protected class is wrong and against the law. Our veterans deserve our thanks, respect, and the opportunity to live where they choose free from discrimination. To all veterans, women and men, I am privileged to be one of you and “Thank YOU” for your selfless service,” Walker said.