HUD Cracks Down on Housing Discrimination Against Disabled

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.

(link to housing discrimination news release)

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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

1 thought on “HUD Cracks Down on Housing Discrimination Against Disabled

  1. Nila Ridings

    This brings back memories of when I was reading Ward’s book, Neighbors At War. When I read the pages about what his HOA said to him after he shared that his wife had just been diagnosed with MS, I closed the book and cried.

    It devastated me to think somebody (an HOA president) could be so cold-hearted and insensitive…much less to his new neighbor. Who calls somebody’s family member a “gimp” and tells them they don’t want those kinds of people in the neighborhood? A total idiot would be my first guess.

    You are right, Deborah most of us have or will face a disability. In an HOA don’t count on a neighbor for any encouragement. Get your checkbook ready to wipe out your bank account fighting to install a ramp, lift, cover for swimming, or park your necessary vehicle on your driveway for transport. We’ve heard it all. HOAs try everything to destroy the less fortunate. It truly is sickening.


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