WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has approved a Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) with the Housing Authority of the City of Atlanta, Georgia (AHA) resolving findings that arose from a compliance review. During the course of the compliance review, the AHA acknowledged that it needed to improve monitoring and oversight for reasonable accommodations requests from tenants who resided at properties that fell under AHA’s oversight. Read the Agreement.

The findings by HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) stated that the AHA failed to comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by inadequately monitoring its subrecipient housing providers, who failed to process and delayed reasonable accommodation requests, as well as insufficient record keeping of such requests as required under HUD regulations.

Section 504 provides that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall, on the grounds of disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives federal financial assistance, including from HUD. Title II of the ADA similarly prohibits disability discrimination, and extends to all services, programs, or activities of any public entity, including public housing agencies. FHEO’s compliance review demonstrated that AHA should make significant improvements to meet its responsibilities under both laws.

“Public housing providers who receive federal assistance have a responsibility to ensure equal opportunity in housing for all the residents they serve,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD is committed to using all of its tools, including compliance reviews, to tackle housing discrimination, including discrimination against individuals with disabilities. We are pleased AHA engaged with the conciliation process with an eye toward resolution of this matter.”

FHEO’s systemic compliance review of the housing provider included over 400 interviews of tenants, staff interviews, interrogatories of property managers, and the review of hundreds of policy and procedure documents. The Letter of Findings identified numerous issues with AHA’s oversight and enforcement of Section 504 for its housing partners and specifically identified 15 victims of discrimination based on disability.

The three-year VCA that AHA entered includes a $2 million dollar victims fund that will pay compensation to the parties outlined in the LOF and to additional unidentified parties who have a right to have their accommodation denial reviewed. The VCA also requires extensive changes to the AHA’s monitoring and oversight of its subrecipient housing partners, such as increased training, monthly audits of reasonable accommodation logs, an updated website and grievance policies, and other provisions to ensure that persons with disabilities can request and receive reasonable accommodations.