Fair Housing Month Update #2: Fair Housing includes Protections for Group Homes for People with Disabilities
Fair Housing Month Update #2: Fair Housing includes Protections for Group Homes for People with Disabilities

Categories: Civil Rights & Voting, Housing

Photograph of a man and a woman with Down Syndrome playing with a dogBy Guest Blogger Bryan Greene, General Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

At the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), we recognize that group homes often provide people with disabilities important opportunities to live in mainstream community settings.  That’s why we are committed to keeping neighborhoods open to group homes for people with disabilities, in accordance with the Fair Housing Act.

Earlier this month, we announced a $90,000 settlement reached with the seller of a house in Worcester, Massachusetts, the real estate brokerage firm Coldwell Banker, and the law firm Bowditch & Dewey LLP, resolving allegations that they violated the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition against discriminating against people with disabilities.

In this case, a prospective buyer alleged that the seller recorded a restrictive covenant after learning that the buyer intended to rent the property to a nonprofit organization that provides supportive housing for people with disabilities.  The seller, who was the executor of the owner’s estate and lived next door to the property, was an attorney with Bowditch & Dewey LLP.  He allegedly enlisted a fellow attorney from his law firm to record a restrictive covenant that prohibited the use of the property for a group home.  His real estate agent, an independent contractor for Coldwell Banker, allegedly conveyed the restrictive covenant to the buyer’s real estate agent.  The buyer said this caused him to withdraw from the sale.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the sale of a home and in other housing-related transactions.

We are pleased to have obtained a settlement that includes $78,000 for the buyer and $12,000 for the buyer’s real estate agent.  The settlement also includes provisions to further the public interest.  Bowditch & Dewey will perform 200 hours of pro bono legal work related to the promotion of fair housing rights and disability rights.  Both Coldwell Banker and Bowditch & Dewey will have employees and agents receive fair housing training.

April is Fair Housing Month, when we try to raise awareness about discrimination in housing.  If you have experienced or witnessed housing discrimination, we encourage you to report it by calling your local HUD office or filing a complaint online.  Please visit http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/topics/housing_discrimination for more information.

Bryan Greene is the General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In this position, he is charged with overseeing the policy direction and operational management of this 600-person office. Under his leadership, HUD has pursued large-scale high-profile cases that address systemic discrimination and provide widespread relief. Mr. Greene has devoted his professional career to fighting housing discrimination and promoting diverse, inclusive communities.

25 Responses to Fair Housing Month Update #2: Fair Housing includes Protections for Group Homes for People with Disabilities

  1. Marylou says:

    I am so blessed as I did receive my voucher and the apt I need to get ’cause of my health is basically next door here in Miami County. They say Bill B. owns these and Pat is the manager. I am on a scooter and did get ok’ed for a 2 bedroom as w/ oxygen, etc. – med equip, pap machine and breathing machines. I have had pnemonina and lost all my family in November – mom, partner of 20 yrs, my Randy, and a brother, too. Now this Pat has called today, which is Sunday, to ask for a $20 credit check. Not thinking it’s too professional as an apt. manager, I hesitated and said I won’t have SSD ’til this Friday. How come I am getting a credit chk? Metro is suppling most of the rent and I really have no credit cards, never did. Married once for 14 yrs and bills all paid. Have no bills as all, paid in full, so bad credit is just as bad as none. This has made me so upset, Bells Palsy has set in again and I’m a nervous wreck. I have case managers on a need to know info. Did I handle this right? Mr. Bohner did help my Randy w/ SSD before he died on my floor in front of me and Obama helped me w/ getting this scooter. So I know how to read and I feel under the circumstance of being ”mental health or disabled” I am being taken advantage of, thinking I am just a little off. Well…wrong person. What to do?

  2. Jean says:

    I have been in Boca Raton for 11 years. I worked 18 years before I had a stroke and got a pacemaker. A new company took over my apartment. I get my ssdi every month on the 20th and they have my paper work. My lease has rent due on the 18th. I get my check the day before. They sent a letter to vacate in 3 days. I’m disabled and they know what day I get my check. It’s like they want me to have another stroke. They make my life difficult.

  3. Patricia R. says:

    I lost my house in 2009 with all of the fiscal issues, I am in a rooming house now, but I stared paying $387.00 for just a room, sharing kitchen, and community areas, I’ve been on the Section 8 list since 2009, waiting for a housing voucher, or some kind of help, and nothing is happening, I stared a new job and maybe by then I will be able to afford to pay for my own apt or maybe a house. They just said that everything is full now.

  4. Johnny B. A. says:

    You need to talk about the people with a past that have only one stay in jail and it have been over ten years. What can be done for those people?

    • Becky says:

      My arrest was in 1996 in Florida. I was taken to jail because of a fight with my boyfriend. No charges, just a night in jail to separate us.
      In Florida they leave the arrest on your record forever. I was denied section 8 housing. I should have disputed it, but I was so upset, I didn’t appeal within the time frame.
      Sure could use some help. My disability check is not enough to afford housing.

  5. Patricia K. says:

    Good job. We certainly need to keep on top of these NIMBY situations!

  6. Monica D. says:

    I just received disability and I can’t find a place to live. I have a disabled son who is bedridden and keeps getting denied disability. I have called all possible government housing, they are full. Help.

  7. Joey L. says:

    Who do I call for more help for my living expenses – I’m just living, not making it. I can’t live with my disability that I was born with, I’m just getting sicker. I live in Florida. I need help with fair housing, please someone help. I don’t know what to do…

  8. George H. Jr. says:

    My name has been at the top of the Section 8 Housing list for Los Angeles since 09/14/2007. I am registered and confirmation number is: 836234, prospect number is: p0302721. I am on permanent disability since 1996 and still on the waiting list for housing, never receiving a postcard. Please help me. I don’t understand being (so I was told), at the top of the list.

    Regards,
    George H.
    Canoga Park, CA

    • teachmar says:

      Dear George, I’m in the same boat, too – almost exactly the same status. The S8 program has been shut down since 2007 as there are no Federal Funds appropriated for this State program anymore and the State Budget was also cut, too. LA therefore has no money for this program, which was mostly funded through HUD. Who knows when any help will be coming. Those of us disabled, low income people just can’t get help anymore. Maybe we need to re-think who we vote for and how they are wasting our tax dollars with big government offices, tax loop holes- and bail outs!! The wrong things.

  9. Ruth H. says:

    I am trying to do the same thing with my business, get homes for people with disabilities. I am trying to get a grant or get funded to get a building just for that. I been filling out forms for grants and requests for funding. No one calls or writes back on the matter.

  10. Steven S. says:

    Keep up the great work protecting the civil liberties of persons suffering from disabilities.

  11. Michael L. says:

    I am disabled and cannot find a place to live. Please oh please. I need help finding a place.

  12. Nelson E. says:

    I don’t know if my situation was a discriminatory action, but to my understanding it was. When I was trying to obtain a VA loan for the first time, the lender, Quicken’s Loan, told me that because I had a home mortgage of 40k at that time, I did not qualify to obtain a full VA loan as requested, because my house value was lower, based on their appraisal, which were conducted twice by two different appraisers. So I was obligated (in other words) to got a refinance loan to pay off some credit cards and the old loan, which were not my plan, as a disabled veteran. Now after all of those financial games affecting the poor people, my house insurance, “Fidelity”, increased my home insurance to $4,400.00, which is almost double what my payment was before, something that as the only family support, I cannot afford to pay. My only choice now is to find out another insurer with a lower payment, because my home value, based on their guidelines and the government property value and lender appraisal during my refinance time, does not match. I am not a real estate person, but something is wrong, based on my knowledge in this area. Thanks for your attention to this matter.

  13. Melody C. says:

    We live in public housing. I am in a wheelchair. Each year when we get our cost of living adjustment on our Social Security, rent goes up the same amount as our raise. The combined amount of the 3 of us that live here.I do not think that is right. How do we ever get ahead or pay for other things that go up, like food? What do you think? We have a lot of RXs also.

    Sincerely, Melody C.

    PS. We live in Hillsboro, OR.

    • D. Clark says:

      Had I known it was this difficult getting help when you are disabled, I would never have allowed the Lawyers, and insurance companies to force me into a settlement on my workers comp case, which by the way has long ago been spent. So here I am, no money, essentially homeless, and wondering what I will do when my home is foreclosed on later this month.

  14. Chelsea S. says:

    Woo hoo! :-D

  15. Randy B. says:

    Hello, I have a question. Since being disabled, I have lived with my mom. She is 78 years old. She took out a reverse mortgage on the house we live in. She didn’t understand how it worked. I would like to try to make arrangements to buy the house. How can I do that if possible? Thanks.

    • Myrna V. says:

      Find out if your mother is mentally sound and understood what she was signing. Is she capable of making a sound decision? I would never recommend to any senior citizen to apply for a reverse mortgage, especially if they have living heirs. Check her loan docs, there should me a month to month schedule of the monthly payment she is receiving, monthly property taxes and all misc. fees. I suggest you retain a real estate lawyer or call HUD for counseling. Good Luck!

      • Disability.Blog Team says:

        Great answer, Myrna! Thank you for providing the information to Randy.

        Best,

        The Disability.gov Team

  16. Jen says:

    Need help to adopt a special needs girl. Need help now.

  17. Jen says:

    Thank G-d. Keep up the good work.