Monday, July 25, 2005

HUD, the Urban Institute, and Access Living conducted some testing research on discrimination against persons with disabilites in the Chicago region. As the Tribune describes the story in today's paper based on today's press release from HUD.

The study showed people with disabilities being discriminated against in 30% to 50% of the time based on type of disability. For example, blind people with service animals were not given an opportunity to rent because of no-pets policies. Under the Fair Housing Act, service animals are not to be considered pets. Deaf persons were often cut off on the phone when using relay services. People in wheelchairs were told they couldn't rent in some buildings without entering into reasonable modification or reasonable accommodation negotiations. In fact, they were not even allowed to state a case for why they wanted to live in the units they called on. By law, disabled persons are allowed to make reasonable modifications to inaccessible units if they are willing to pay for installation and (in some cases) removal of them.

Disability is a protected class at all levels of government in Chicago (federal, state, county, local). And, HUD plans on using the information gathered to actually enforce the law. So, there should be some good case law or ALJ agreements on disability rights in the near future.

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