WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has reached a conciliation agreement with the Richmond Housing Authority (RHA) in Richmond, California, settling allegations that it discriminated against a resident with disabilities. Read the conciliation agreement.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of a dwelling because of a disability, including refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices when a person with a disability requires such an accommodation.
“Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities can mean the difference between having a place to call home and being homeless,” said Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue working to ensure that no person loses his or her home because of their disability, and that housing providers understand and meet their responsibility to comply with the nation’s fair housing laws.”
The agreement is the result of a complaint that was filed by a resident with a disability alleging that the Richmond Housing Authority failed to renew his Housing Choice Voucher before it expired. According to the complaint, the resident submitted a request to have their voucher renewed before it expired, but the housing authority thought that he did not want the voucher renewed. The complaint alleged the Bay Area Legal Aid, a HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program agency, sent several letters and emails to the housing authority requesting that it reinstate the voucher as a reasonable accommodation, since any miscommunication may have been due to the resident’s disability, but the housing authority refused. As a result, the resident was forced to place his belongings in storage and live in homeless shelters and with relatives.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Richmond Housing Authority will pay the resident $5,833 as reimbursement for the storage fees, and provide a new Housing Choice Voucher. The agreement also requires RHA staff to obtain fair housing training.
Any person who believes she or he has experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed online or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple and Android devices.