Nov. 13, 2001 --
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's enforcement of the disability nondiscrimination provisions of the Fair Housing Act and Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act has been "underfunded, understaffed, and lacking any consistent strategy and direction," says a report released last week by the federal National Council on the Disability. The report, "Reconstructing Fair Housing," is available online at http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/fairhousing.html
The report looks at HUD's enforcement of the two laws and examines HUD's record during the past 12 years.
"HUD has lost control of its own enforcement process," said NCD, quoted in a brief article in the Nov. 6 Washington Post. "The promises of the fair housing laws have been empty for many Americans, with and without disabilities."
By 2000, HUD was taking an average of nearly 14 months -- more than four times the 100 days prescribed by law -- to complete its investigations, reported the Post. "The 74-day average achieved in 1989 was the only time HUD met the requirement."
"Reconstructing Fair Housing" is the fifth in a series of analyses by NCD of federal enforcement of civil rights laws relating to disability. For a list of these reports, go to http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/01publications.html
Three months ago, this E-Letter reported that more than 3 1/2 million disabled people could not find affordable accessible housing ("Priced out in 2000," from the Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc. and the Washington, DC-based Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Task Force, is online at http://www.c-c-d.org/POin2000.html).
Disability activists are familiar with attorney Steve Gold's work to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act. Gold's grassroots website contains a number of information bulletins on using HUD programs and ensuring that the federal agency follows the law (online at http://www.stevegoldada.com/ - click on "searchable archive" and type in "housing").