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Apartments Accused Of Reverse Discrimination


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An apartment complex designed to accommodate those with disabilities is under fire from federal officials for having too few typically-developing residents.

The Apache ASL Trails apartments in Tempe, Ariz. were built to meet the needs of individuals who are deaf. Every unit is wheelchair accessible, blinking lights indicate when the doorbell rings or when the garbage disposal is on and a videophone helps residents keep in touch with friends.

But after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development kicked in $2.6 million to help fund the project, the agency is now accusing the complex of discriminating against those who are not deaf, reports KSAZ.

The federal housing agency wants 75 percent of the units to be rented to individuals without disabilities and that has residents and lawmakers up in arms.

“To basically say there are too many disabled people here is just nuts,” U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., told the television station.

The state’s housing director said he’s trying to work with the federal government to resolve the issue, but hasn’t made much progress. In the meantime, those living at the complex are in limbo.

“As a deaf person, I feel like I have a right to live where I’d like to live,” said resident George Sierra.

Federal officials declined to comment at this point, but told The Arizona Republic last month that they are looking for a “win-win conclusion.”

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Comments (4 Responses)

  1. vmgillen says:

    Where are these guys when all the developments WITHOUT ANY ACCESSIBLE UNITS? This smacks of arbitrary and capricious enforcement. At the same time, bear in mind that segregating a specific population is a form of ghetto-ization…


    UNBELIEVABLE- total discrimination, lack of enforcement over the years by the same freekin agency has led to a housing crisis for people with disabilities. aww and now one bldg project actually helps & favors some of the hundreds of thousands who are on waiting lists, and they have the nerve to call THIS DISCRIMINATION? on the measly investment to remedy this crisis?

  3. Lela says:

    First, there is NO SUCH THING as “reverse discrimination.” Discrimination is discrimination, no matter how you slice it. I get so sick of hearing this term – it makes no sense whatsoever. Now, this situation is absolutely ridiculous! This complex was built to accomodate persons with disabilities but the fed gov wants SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT of its residents to be non-disabled?! Proves where we’ve known all along that their heads are…

  4. David G. says:

    HUD now seems to have a bug up its rear regarding anything that they can interpret as “congregate housing” for people with any types of disabilities. We’ve been working for years on a project in SC to develop a neighborhood to support adults with developmental disabilities by including housing for them in an otherwise “normal” neighborhood. We had hoped that the Frank Melville Act that was signed into law in Jan. 2011 would provide funding for this – but when HUD wrote the regs, they explicitly excluded group homes or other “congregate housing” (with more than 25% of the units dedicated to the disabled – or even on the same floor) from any funding!

    The same thing is happening now with our state DHHS agency as they are seeking some changes to their Medicaid Waivers: CMS is balking at anything that might be considered “congregate housing.” Is it “ghetto-izing” developmentally disabled adults to have 5 or 6 homes/cottages for them in a larger neighborhood development of 20-25 homes? What if they’d like to live nearby their friends? Idiots at work – supposedly for our benefit!

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