The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today issued a letter to the City of Los Angeles, detailing the city’s ongoing failure to provide accessible housing for low-income persons with disabilities.
HUD’s Supplemental Letter of Findings expands on observations the Department first made in 2012 when it notified the City of its noncompliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Since that time, the City has knowingly failed to comply with federal accessibility requirements and is compounding inaccessibility in its affordable housing program.
Los Angeles receives substantial financial assistance from HUD to support community development and affordable housing. Since 2005, HUD allocated more than $1.5 billion to support Los Angeles’ community development and affordable housing needs, including to build and rehabilitate affordable, accessible housing for families with low-to-moderate incomes. Federal accessibility laws require that the City provide people with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from its affordable housing. Despite this, the City continues to exclude persons with disabilities from hundreds of its affordable housing developments by permitting discriminatory practices, funding construction that does not comply with federal standards for accessible design and failing to correct noncompliant properties. At all 120 housing developments surveyed from the City’s affordable housing portfolio as part of this review, HUD found significant accessibility violations.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson said, “It is unacceptable that Los Angeles continues to knowingly limit affordable housing opportunities for people with disabilities. Sadly, the City continues to engage in a widespread practice of flouting federal laws that require taxpayer dollars be used to produce affordable housing that persons with disabilities can live in.”
HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Anna Maria Farías, explained, “For years, Los Angeles has produced taxpayer-supported affordable housing that effectively excludes persons living with disabilities. The City’s widespread and years-long noncompliance with its legal requirements has likely denied housing to thousands of families who desperately needed these homes.”
HUD’s General Counsel, J. Paul Compton, Jr., noted that “HUD has been patiently negotiating with the City in good faith to bring it into compliance with federal law, but the City has shown no genuine interest in doing what is necessary to develop affordable housing in an accessible manner. HUD will continue to take action through the many available means to ensure that the City takes its legal obligations seriously.”
Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all programs, services, and activities of public entities.
If you believe you have been impacted by the City’s failure to follow federal accessibility requirements in its affordable housing program, please visit www.hud.gov/LAHousingAccess to share your experience. You may also file a complaint of discrimination by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 or visiting How to File a Complaint on HUD’s website.