guest blog by Deborah Goonan
It saddens me that housing discrimination against the disabled is so common. An apartment complex, an independent living facility, and two HOAs are among four offending housing providers in HUD’s early November report.
From denial of an accessible parking space, to reluctance to provide wheelchair access; from denial of an emotional support animal, to terminating residency after short-term hospital stays, management of these communities continues to find ways to try to skirt around the law.
“We continue to see more cases of discrimination against persons with disabilities than any other type,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “It is unacceptable that individuals with disabilities have to fight for the opportunity to live where they want, or to have reasonable accommodations extended to them so they can enjoy their dwelling. The cases we’re announcing today reflect our ongoing commitment to leveling the playing field for all Americans when it comes to housing.”
In 2013, almost 54 percent of the complaints filed with HUD (4,426) alleged housing discrimination based on disability.
The stark reality is that most of us will face disability at some point in our lives. For some of us, it may be temporary. For others, it may be a long-term progressive health condition that leads to limited mobility, depression and anxiety, or limited mental capacity.
Therefore, shouldn’t we all be compassionate and understanding? No one guarantees that life will be tidy and convenient for the disabled, their families, their neighbors, or the managers of their housing developments.
It is truly a silver lining that at least our Federal government still takes a role in enforcing fair housing laws. In fact, it seems as though filing a fair housing complaint is the only way to get some HOAs to comply. What a shame that some HOAs are so willing to waste assessment dollars and cause so much suffering in the process.