Local Ohio U.S. Attorney Joins HUD In Belting Housing Authority w/ Fair Housing Suit Over Denying Section 8 Tenant's Voucher Request For 4-Bedroom Home To Reasonably Accommodate Family's Disability Needs (Dedicated Sanitary Storage Space For Diabetic Dad's Dialysis Treatment Equipment & Supplies For End Stage Kidney Disease; Grade School Child w/ Chronic Enuresis, Learning Disabilities)
- The U.S. Attorney's Office has filed suit against the Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority ["TMHA"], saying it violated the Fair Housing Act by denying housing to a family on the basis of disability.
The lawsuit, filed Friday [January 13] in federal court, says housing authority employees refused to work with a family needing accommodations for a husband who required dialysis treatment for his type-1 diabetes and end-stage renal disease, and a child with special needs. The family is not identified, as the lawsuit refers to the husband as "JG" and the wife as "SP."(1)
The lawsuit says the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development investigated the case and that reasonable cause existed to show that the housing authority discriminated against the family.(2)
***The suit says the family needed a home with four bedrooms, one of which was necessary so the husband's dialysis treatment equipment could be stored and used in a sanitary space.
In September 2014, the housing authority approved a voucher for a three-bedroom home in Warren with additional space for the dialysis equipment. But a social worker for the husband later said that space would not work, as too many people would regularly use the room, the suit says.(3)
On Oct. 1, 2014, Osman and Simeon emailed about the issues. Simeon wrote that she didn't know what dialysis entailed but wondered why the family couldn't make it work. Nevertheless, Simeon wrote to Osman that the decision was up to him, the suit says.
They later told HUD investigators that the housing authority has a policy requiring applicants to move into a home once it's been inspected, and that they terminated the family's voucher assistance for failing to comply, according to the lawsuit.
The housing authority could have waived the policy, as it had for other applicants, the lawsuit says. The housing authority also refused to amend their voucher, and the family was forced to move into separate homes because they could not find suitable housing.
"The distance between JG and SP meant she often was not able to assist him with his dialysis and other medical needs, and his health declined dramatically," the lawsuit says. "In the eleven months they were living apart, JG was hospitalized on at least four occasions and twice contracted dialysis-related infections, which ultimately required that he return to in-clinic dialysis on August 25, 2015."
See also, U.S. Attorney sues Trumbull housing authority.
For the lawsuit, see USA v. Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority, et al.
For an earlier post on this story, see Local Housing Authority Faces Fair Housing Feds' Allegations That It Denied 4-Member Section 8 Family's Request (Voucher Ultimately Revoked) To Allow Move From 2-Bedroom Unit Into 4-Bedroom Apartment More Appropriate For Their Disability Needs (Dad's End-Stage Kidney Disease; Grade School Daughter w/ Learning Disabilities & Enuresis).
- JG, SP and their minor children, AP and MH, were residents of Trumbull County, who sought to participate in the housing voucher program administered through TMHA. JG,who has type-1 diabetes and end-stage renal disease, and one of the minor children, who has learning disabilities and chronic enuresis, are persons with a disability as defined by the FHA [Fair Housing Act]. [...] SP and the other minor child are persons associated with persons with a disability for purposes of the FHA.
(3) From the lawsuit:
- [J]G and SP described the Merriwether [Street] house to a social worker from JG’s dialysis center, who was helping him prepare to begin home dialysis. When she learned that the room where JG planned to do his treatments was in a basement, had no door, and was on a travel route from the garage to the main house, the social worker told JG and SP that the room was not suitable for dialysis. Her reasons included difficulty keeping the room clean and sanitary, given its basement location and the fact that other family members would be passing through it frequently. She also had concerns about the appropriateness of the sub-grade room for storing dialysis equipment and supplies. reasonable accommodation