$1.5 million fund will compensate victims of alleged discrimination
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), on November 4, negotiated a settlement with the Housing Authority of the City of Bridgeport (HACB), doing business as (DBA) as Park City Communities in Connecticut, settling allegations that HACB discriminated against persons with disabilities by failing to provide accessible units and ignoring their requests for reasonable accommodations.
HACB owns and manages more than 2,600 units of public housing and administers more than 2,800 vouchers under HUD’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. Under the terms of the agreement, HACB will establish a $1.5 million compensation fund that will be used to make payments to individuals who were harmed by HACB’s alleged discrimination and increase its housing stock to include units for people with disabilities. The proposed consent decree must still be approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. Learn more about the settlement.
The case originally came to HUD’s attention when a compliance review conducted by HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity revealed that HACB was in violation of federal disability laws. The case was referred to DOJ for enforcement, resulting in a lawsuit against HACB. According to the lawsuit, HACB failed to process and fulfill requests for accommodations from tenants with disabilities or to provide accessible public housing units for residents with disabilities.
“As a former director of a public housing agency, I know how important it is that public housing agencies provide persons who have disabilities with the type of housing that meets their needs,” said Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD applauds this important settlement and will continue working with the Justice Department to ensure that housing providers are aware of and meet their obligation to comply with the nation’s housing laws.”
HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing R. Hunter Kurtz added: “It is at the forefront of our mission to ensure that individuals with disabilities served by HUD’s public housing programs have access to accessible housing and are treated fairly.”
HUD’s General Counsel, Paul Compton, said, “HUD will vigorously enforce federal civil rights laws in order to ensure individuals served by HUD programs are able to have equal, affordable housing opportunities. I am pleased that collaboration between HUD and the Justice Department resulted in this settlement.”
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing because of a person’s disability and from refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all programs, services, and activities of local governments.
To learn more about the details of the proposed settlement, please refer to DOJ’s Press Release here. Individuals who may have been victims of discrimination by HACB or who have information relevant to the case are encouraged to contact DOJ’s Civil Rights Division at 1-800-896-7743 (for English, mailbox number 992; for Spanish, mailbox number 2) or by email at Community.Bridgeport@usdoj.gov.
Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (Voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to www.hud.gov/fairhousing, or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple devices, such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet
at www.hud.gov and https://espanol.hud.gov.