HUD announces agreement with Anchorage, Alaska, to lift housing restrictions for people with disabilities

From the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), May 14, 2015

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced an agreement with the Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska, resolving allegationsthat its zoning laws violated the Fair Housing Act and other civil rights laws by discriminating against people with disabilities.Specifically, HUD’s complaint alleged the city’s zoning codeimposed restrictions on groups with certain disabilities such as maximum occupancy standards and fees which were not imposed on other groups. Read HUD’s agreement with Anchorage.

The agreement is the result of a HUD complaint that was brought under the Fair Housing Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all of which prohibit discrimination because of disability. Anchorage is subject to HUD’s enforcement of all the laws because it receives federal financial assistance from HUD.   

“Individuals with disabilities should have the same opportunity as others to live in neighborhoods they choose and should not be subjected to fees that others do not pay,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “We look forward to working with the municipality of Anchorage to make changes in its zoning ordinance to increase access for people with disabilities.”

In May 2014, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity filed a fair housing complaint alleging that Anchorage discriminated against persons with disabilities.  The complaint alleged that the municipal code excluded certain housing for persons with disabilities from some residential districts, and required group homes for persons with disabilities to comply with extra procedures and pay fees that were not imposed on residences for persons who do not have disabilities.  

Under the terms of the agreement, the municipality will retain a qualified independent consultant to review its municipal code regarding Assisted Living Facility and Rehabilitative Care uses, including any occupancy limits, administrative variance procedures and conditional use permit requirements.  The consultant will advise the municipality on revisions to the code, and the municipality will repeal, amend or modify the code as necessary to be consistent with the Fair Housing Act and other federal civil rights law. The municipality will also refund up to $5,000 in permit fees to applicants for variances concerning housing for people with disabilities.

Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to www.hud.gov/fairhousing, or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple devices, such as iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, as well as Android devices.

Related article: Anchorage accepts review of zoning restrictions said to discriminate against disabled.

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2015/HUDNo_15-057

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