DRM has filed a federal law suit against the Housing Authority of Prince George’s County (HAPGC) alleging violations of the Rehabilitation Act, Fair Housing Act Amendments, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The lawsuit was filed by five public housing residents in Prince George’s County who have consistently requested wheelchair accessible housing units from HAPGC. HAPGC regularly failed to respond to the resident requests and transferred them from one inaccessible unit to another inaccessible unit. The residents continue to live in inaccessible housing units.
“I was homeless in 2010 and applied to public housing in Prince George’s County because I thought they would have accessible units and accommodations to offer me. I have never been offered an accessible unit. I cannot use my wheelchair in the bathroom and there are no grab bars in the bathroom for me to us so that I can safely transfer to my commode,” said one of the Plaintiffs, Alonzo Watts about why he is filing the case.
Another Plaintiff, Andre Phillips states, “I am just trying to have an accessible unit like I requested in 2013. I can’t do basic things in my unit. My bathroom is so small that I have to hurt myself just to get in there to do daily stuff like use the bathroom.”
“HAPGC has long acknowledged the lack of accessible public housing in its federal reporting requirements. HAPGC just hasn’t done anything about the lack of accessible housing and our clients have had to suffer because of it,” attorney David Prater said about the case.
By federal law, public housing should have accessible housing to offer to low-income people with disabilities. Disability Rights Maryland encourages other public housing residents who have been denied accessible housing or have not otherwise had their needs addressed by HAPGC to come forward by calling our office at 410-727-6352.
The lawsuit alleges that HAPGC has failed to maintain accessible public housing units in accordance with federal regulation, has failed to maintain policies that addresses the needs of persons with disabilities in public housing in Prince George’s County, and has offered housing on discriminatory terms to persons with disabilities.
The lawsuit was filed on the heels of 26th Anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which the suit alleges HAPGC violated.