Ohio Housing Authority Charged with Discriminating Against Family with Disabilities
HUD recently announced that it is charging the Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority in Warren, Ohio, with violating the Fair Housing Act by denying the reasonable accommodation requests of a family that includes a father and daughter with severe disabilities. The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to persons with disabilities, or from refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices for people with disabilities.
The case came to HUD’s attention when the four-member family participating in the Housing Choice Voucher program filed a complaint against the Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority after it denied their request to move from their two-bedroom apartment into a unit that was appropriate for their disability needs. The family submitted a request to occupy a home that had two additional rooms to separately accommodate the father’s dialysis treatments and a daughter’s disability.
According to the charge, though the housing authority initially approved the family’s request it ultimately terminated their voucher assistance, and denied their request for new voucher program paperwork. The family then lived in separate locations while the father underwent treatments alone.
HUD’s charge will be heard by a U.S. administrative law judge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he or she may award damages to the complainants for their loss as a result of the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties in order to vindicate the public interest. If the case is heard in federal court, the judge may also award punitive damages to the complainants.