DOJ settles housing access suit

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express

WASHINGTON, DC -- More than 5,400 ground-floor apartments in 49 complexes in seven states will be made more accessible under an agreement announced on September 30 by the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to a DOJ press release, developer Edward Rose & Associates and several architectural firms in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin agreed to retrofit the buildings and rental offices to make them more accessible to wheelchair users and other residents and guests with disabilities.

The agreement settles two Justice Department suits, one filed in 2001 and the other in 2002, alleging that the apartments violated the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The firms will also pay up to $950,000 to individuals harmed by the lack of accessible features on the properties, and to pay a $110,000 civil penalty.

Bradley J. Schlozman, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, said: "While it is less expensive to make housing accessible in the first place, we are pleased with the defendants' cooperation with the government to reach this agreement, which retrofits nearly 50 apartment complexes."

October 05, 2005 - InclusionDailyNews Department | Email this story


Comments (newest comments at bottom)

well how come that does'nt seem to be working in colorado,my fiancee and i are both disabled,she uses a powerchair to get around,and i can walk.but the apartment we live in now says they don't have to make any accomadtions,because there building was built before ada was passed,the bad thing is that if there is ever a fire in our building,there is no way for us to get out,we live on the first floor,but its above the parking garage,everytime the fire alarm goes off,it shuts down the elevator,we have 2 exit doors on either side of building,but they have stairs going outside not ramped. plus something else on my mind,maybe someone can answer this one for me, we have an apartment complex here,they have wheelchair accessible apartments,but only for income restricted tenants,my fiancee works full-time,and i currently get ssdi,they told me that if we wanted a 1 bedroom wheelchair accessible,i would have to pay around 800.00 a month,while everyone else is paying around 350.00 to 400.00 for the same apartment. i think i'm going to do a little more reasearch on this complex. thanks again john in colorado

Posted by: john on November 29, 2005 05:47 PM

Well, that lawsuit only applied to one builder. You should do some more research and check with a local disability rights or housing rights group. The Americans with Disabilities Act does not apply to housing per se; the Fair Housing Act forbids discrimination on the basis of disability in housing. Good luck!

Posted by: Mary Johnson on November 30, 2005 06:28 AM

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