Housing access suits pay off in Illinois
BART settles class-action suit over rapid-transit system
Visitability -- housing access -- now law in England
- First nation in world to require access to single family homes
- "Visitability" now law in UK
Legislation requiring new 1- and 2-bedroom homes be "visitable"
passed the British Parliament in March, making the UK the first nation
in the world to mandate basic access in single-family homes. The law requires
an entrance without steps, a bathroom at street level, wide halls, doorways
passable by wheelchairs and other elements of universal design. "What
builders must ensure ... is 'visitability housing,' " according to
an article in the London Times.
The Home Builders' Federation, a UK trade group, raised the objection
that excessive cost would drive first-time homebuyers out of the market.
"Builders will simply stop making two-bedroom houses and make three-bedroom
ones instead," said a Federation spokesman (three-bedroom homes are
not included in the new law).
But Parliament was persuaded by the Joseph Rountree Foundation, who
built more than 400 of the homes and in a two-year study found costs to
be low - no more than £200 per home - and benefits high.
"There will be direct benefits of increased convenience, accessibility
and sociability for disabled people," said UK Construction Minister
Nick Raynsford in the wake of the vote. "The measures will also help
significantly those people who are temporarily disabled through accident
or injury, the elderly and those with young children in prams and pushcarts."
The requirements will take full effect in 1999, giving the building
industry time to learn accessible construction methods. For more information
on the UK legislation, contact Concrete
Change at their website (http://concretechange.home.mindspring.com).
- Housing Access Suits pay off
- Illinois Builder Ordered to Modify Existing Building;
Las Vegas Developer Agrees to Settle
- WASHINGTON (Disability News Service)- In late April, Housing and Urban
Development (HUD) Chief Administrative Law Judge Alan W. Heifetz issued
the first decision that requires a builder to make an existing building
accessible to people with disabilities under the provisions of the Fair
Housing Act. HUD pursued the civil action against Perland Corporation of
Crest Hill, Illinois, and its president and owner William Persico, on behalf
of the Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living in Joliet. The Center
alleged that eight ground-floor units at Meadow View Terrace Condominiums
in Crest Hill were not accessible to people with disabilities.
- The architectural firm of Thomas A. Buchar & Associates, Inc. of
Joliet agreed to pay $1,000 in damages to the Center and put an $8,000
into an escrow fund to be made available to residents of Will County, as
well as paying for future modifications to make multi-family housing accessible
to people with disabilities.
- "If you build housing in violation of the Fair Housing Act, we
will find you and we will require you to make any changes necessary to
comply with the law," said HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo in a statement
issued on April 21 announcing the HUD actions.
- "We are pretty excited because this is the first time a case has
gone all the way to a judge's rule, and it will it establish case law,"
said Pam Heavens, executive director of the Will-Grundy Center.
- In May, developers of a 168-unit Las Vegas condo complex agreed to
pay $37,000 to settle a complaint filed with HUD by the Disabled Rights
Action Committee in their ongoing push to make developers obey the Fair
Housing Act's access requirements (see
D.R. Nation, May/June).
- Since 1989, HUD has received over 10,000 disability-related housing
complaints. To file a complaint with HUD, call (800) 669-9777 (voice) or
go to their website at www.hud.gov/hdiscrim.html<P>
- Information © Disability News Service
- BART settles class-action suit; agrees
- © Copyright 1998
- Disability News Service, Inc.
- Bay Area Rapid Transit has agreed to make extensive improvements throughout
its system to ensure that riders with mobility disabilities have safe and
reliable access to the BART transit system and are not be routinely subjected
to "noxious" conditions. BART also agreed to pay damages equalling
$750,000 - $100,000 to independent living centers in the Bay area and $650,000
in free fares to disabled riders. In the May 19 settlement of a class-action
lawsuit alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, BART
agreed, among other things, to fix broken elevators and keep them clean
and in working order and provide accessible parking, accessible "paths
of travel" through the stations and to the trains, as well as accessible
phones and restrooms in over 30 stations.
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