Justice Department Settles with Housing Authority of Baltimore City for Failure to Provide Accessible Housing to Persons with Disabilities
The Justice Department announced today that a federal district court has approved a supplemental consent decree between the United States, the Maryland Disability Law Center and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC). The original consent decree contained remedies for HABC’s failure to provide accessible housing to persons with disabilities. The supplemental consent decree, which was approved today by U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz of the District of Maryland, continues and amends certain terms in the original consent order in United States v. HABC, and Bailey v. HABC, entered on Dec. 20, 2004.
“We are pleased with the significant progress made by the Housing Authority of Baltimore City to implement the terms of the original decree,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “We look forward to working with the Housing Authority to create new accessible housing opportunities for persons with disabilities and enhancing their quality of life.”
The original consent decree mandates that HABC create 756 units to comply with federal accessibility standards. As of Aug. 31, 2015, HABC had developed all but 54 of such units. Under the supplemental decree, these remaining units will be completed by Dec. 31, 2016. HABC’s plan requires two and three bedroom single family homes that are fully accessible to families with a household member who has physical disabilities.
The original consent decree also mandates that HABC create 500 units for non-elderly persons with disabilities. As of Aug. 31, 2015, HABC had created 411 such units. Under the supplemental decree, the remaining units will be completed by Dec. 31, 2016. Further, the original consent decree mandates that HABC create 100 new housing opportunities for non-elderly persons with disabilities called “Long Term Affordable” units. HABC has until Dec. 31, 2017, to develop the remaining balance of these units from certain specified developments.
HABC is participating in the Rental Assistance Demonstration Program. Under this program, HABC will be transferring certain public housing properties to private ownership. Under the supplemental decree, the new owners are required to preserve the accessibility of the units and implement the policies and practices that protect the rights of tenants with disabilities.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.usdoj.gov/crt. Individuals who believe that they have been victims of housing discrimination can call the division’s Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, e-mail the Justice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777.