WASHINGTON - The Justice Department announced today announced a settlement with the District of Columbia to improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities in the City’s homeless shelter program under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
"This agreement will ensure that the homeless shelter program in the nation’s capital is accessible to individuals with disabilities," said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Justice Department is committed to continued vigorous enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act."
The terms of the settlement require the District to increase the accessibility of its shelter program by:
As part of the settlement, the District must take public comments on the plan, hold at least one public hearing and then submit the plan to the Department for final approval. The District is also required to take interim steps to enhance the accessibility of shelter facilities while the plan is under development.
The Justice Department initiated its investigation after receiving complaints alleging widespread ADA violations in the District’s shelter program. According to a January 2008 survey conducted by a contractor who administers the District’s shelter program, 23 percent of the District’s homeless residents have a physical disability, 19 percent have a severe mental illness, and two percent have HIV or AIDS.
More information about this settlement and the ADA is available at the Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY), and via the ADA Web site at http://www.ada.gov.