PHA Agrees to Upgrade Public Housing for the Disabled
HUD recently approved a Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) between the Hawaii Disability Rights Center and the Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA). The HPHA has agreed to upgrade living units to meet accessibility standards, resolving a federal investigation that unearthed hundreds of violations last year. HUD had investigated HPHA in response to a complaint filed two years ago by the head of the Hawaii Disability Rights Center.
The voluntary compliance agreement lays out a three-year process for evaluating and upgrading public housing units to ensure they meet federal regulations. It begins with a survey of the public housing stock. HPHA will have six months to hire a consultant to conduct “needs assessments.” The agency also must survey its accessible units and use the information from the surveys and assessment to create self-evaluation and transition plans. HPHA will have three years to fix units and common areas that are supposed to be accessible, and must give HUD quarterly progress reports. If HPHA doesn’t comply with the terms of the settlement, HUD may suspend employees, withhold federal funding, or even sue the state agency.