HUD Announces Agreement with California Housing Authorities Resolving Disability Discrimination Claims

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced that it has reached a Conciliation/Voluntary Compliance Agreement with the Housing Authority of the County of Contra Costa (HACCC) and the Vallejo Housing Authority (VHA), both located in California, resolving allegations that they violated the Fair Housing Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act when they allegedly denied a request by a resident with disabilities to extend her search time to find suitable housing that would accept her Housing Choice Voucher. Read the agreement.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to persons with disabilities, or discriminating in the terms or conditions of housing services, including by refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices for persons with disabilities. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

“For residents with disabilities, being allowed a longer period to find housing can be the difference between having a roof over their heads and finding themselves on the street,” said Anna María Farias, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “This case reminds housing providers of the seriousness of their responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act and Section 504 and demonstrates HUD’s commitment to ensuring that housing providers follow through on these responsibilities.”

HUD became involved in the case after a woman filed a complaint alleging that the housing authorities denied her reasonable accommodation request for additional time to find a suitable housing unit where she could use her Housing Choice Voucher, causing her to lose her Voucher.

Under the agreement, HACCC and VHA will pay the woman a total of $10,000. HACCC will also reinstate the woman’s Housing Choice Voucher and VHA will port her voucher into its jurisdiction. In addition, the woman will be provided more time to locate and lease housing, and VHA will revise its Extension of Voucher Term policy.

Disability is the most common basis of complaint filed with HUD and its partner agencies. Last year alone, HUD and its state and local partners investigated more than 4,500 disability-related complaints, or nearly 55 percent of all fair housing complaints.