How does this Work in
Real Life?
Debra McGhee
Director, Baltimore Center
Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity
U.S. Department of HUD
Bases of Complaints
Bases for Complaints Filed with HUD and
FHAP FY2009 (10,242 Total)
Disability is Defined By Laws
• Disability means:
(A) A physical or mental impairment that
substantially limits one or more of the
major life activities
(B) A record of impairment
(C) Being regarded as having such an
Major Life Activities
• Include such things as:
Caring for oneself,
performing manual
tasks, walking, seeing,
hearing, speaking,
breathing, learning and
Reasonable Accommodations
A recipient shall
modify its housing
policies & practices to
ensure that these. . . .
do not discriminate on
the basis of disability
against a qualified
individual with
Policies that might be changed :
Pet Policies
Notification of
painting or
Important Principles
• Persons with Disabilities cannot be required
to fill out a specific form or to document
obvious needs.
• An unreasonable delay is equivalent to
denial of an accommodation.
• Even if an accommodation is unworkable
due to administrative & financial burden—
must engage in the interactive process.
The Requested
must be related to
the Disability
HUD Case Study #1
Margaret McNeil, a doubleamputee, appealed to HUD because
her housing agency failed to provide
her an accessible unit.
Prisoner In her own Home
the outcome
The Portsmouth housing agency
paid McNeil a nearly $22,000
settlement and footed the bill to
move her into a new, fully
accessible unit.
Margaret McNeil, 65, looks out across the
spacious living room in her new
Portsmouth home. Photo taken July 1,
2011. (Ross Taylor | The Virginian-Pilot)
the changes
The Portsmouth agency is required
to give staff additional training in
fair housing laws including the Fair
Housing Act and Section 504.
HUD Case Study #2
• Complainant had disability and a son and a
daughter residing in 2 bedroom, projectbased Section 8.
• CP’s son developed mental disability,
needed own bedroom.
• CP requested transfer, provided medical
documentation, was put on list.
HUD Case Study #2
• CP’s son became violent.
• CP sent daughter to reside with relatives in
another state for her protection.
• CP waited more than a year to be
• Three bedroom units were given away to
HUD Case Study #2
“ . .my daughter is back
home where she
belongs. . . You all
have righted the wrong
and I could not thank
you enough for that I
know without your
involvement it would
not have been done!”
HUD Case Study #3
• CP began living in
Public Hsg in 2003
• During 2005
recertification CP
named T.H. as her
live-in-aide and
provided doctor’s
certification of need.
• CP identified TH as
her Live-In-Aide in
2007, 2008, 2009
• During a ‘crack-down’
on unauthorized
residents CP was
threatened with
eviction because of her
HUD Case Study #3
• CP went to Legal Aid. Attny submitted
documentation of need & formal request. CP
remained under threat of eviction from March Sept. During this time she suffered a heart attack
& underwent cardiac surgery.
• Her primary care physician provided HUD with
statement that CPs health had declined,
medications had increased & she had spoken of
her fear of losing her housing.
HUD Case Study #3
• HUD issued finding of
• PHA settled with CP
and the Department
• CP received $15,000
and PHA is engaged in
retraining of staff;
outreach to residents.
HUD does not Always Find
for the CP!
A Word About Support
Do NOT need to be “Certified” or
Should NOT be subject to a “pet
deposit” or Restricted Breed Rules
ARE subject to lease provisions—
i.e., must not disturb neighbors or
destroy property.
Panel Discussion