PHA to Pay $10K to Settle Discrimination Complaint Over Transfer Request

December 14, 2017
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A public housing authority (PHA) in Connecticut recently agreed to pay $10,000 to resolve allegations of disability discrimination for allegedly refusing a resident’s request for a reasonable accommodation to be transferred to a different unit because of her disability.

In its complaint, the Justice Department alleged that in 2014, the resident submitted a reasonable accommodation request for a transfer out of her unit because she experienced anxiety and depression due to a homicide that occurred in front of her home. Two years later, according to the complaint, a physician diagnosed the resident with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Allegedly, the PHA denied the request after deciding that it was “not reasonable.”

Under the settlement, the PHA agreed to pay $10,000 to the resident, provide employees with fair housing training, and provide periodic reports to the Justice Department. Prior to entering into the settlement agreement, the PHA granted the resident’s request for a unit transfer and paid all her moving expenses.

“Individuals with disabilities shouldn’t be denied the accommodations that allow them to fully enjoy their homes,” HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Anna María Farías said in a statement. “Today’s settlement sends a clear message that HUD and the Department of Justice are fully committed to ensuring that housing providers, especially housing authorities, meet their obligation to comply with federal fair housing laws.”

In a related matter, the Justice Department filed a complaint against the PHA, alleging that it discriminated on the basis of disability by systematically mishandling and failing to fulfill requests for reasonable accommodations for residents with disabilities. The complaint also alleged that the PHA failed to provide a sufficient number of public housing units that are accessible to residents with mobility, vision, or hearing-related disabilities. That lawsuit is still pending.