Jump to Navigation

Relman, Dane & Colfax Sues Dallas Housing Authority for Denying Community-Based Housing to People with Disabilities

On August 6, 2018, Relman, Dane & Colfax filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, challenging the cancellation by the Housing Authority of the City of Dallas (DHA) of a Project-Based Voucher (PBV) rent subsidy program that would have permitted people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DDs) to live in integrated homes in the community. The lawsuit--filed on behalf of Community for Permanent Supported Housing, a non-profit group based in Plano, and five mothers of adults with I/DDs who were deprived of the benefits of the program--alleges that DHA's actions violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Fair Housing Act, and state law.

There is an acute shortage of quality, affordable housing for adults with I/DDs. This leaves many to continue to live with parents or in other situations that deprive them of opportunities for independence, socialization, and integration with the broader community. And as their families age and are no longer able to care for them, adults with I/DDs are at risk for institutionalization and homelessness.

In 2016 DHA sought applications from owners of single-family homes to provide community-based housing for adults with I/DDs, to be funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). DHA specified that no more than four residents with I/DDs and one live-in caregiver would live in each home, and encouraged parents of adult children with I/DDs to submit proposals. Each of the individual plaintiffs sought housing on behalf of her adult child, and either applied to the DHA for these vouchers or would have benefited from the vouchers awarded to others. While HUD regulations typically prohibit a parent receiving PBV assistance from renting to a family member, they permit this to occur as a reasonable accommodation for a family member with a disability.

Rather than follow those regulations--and federal laws that require it to provide reasonable accommodations--DHA cancelled the program, denying adults with I/DDs the benefits of the PBV program and the integrated community settings the subsidies would have supported. Many adults with I/DDs will have to remain in their current living situations instead of being able to live in a family-like environment with friends who also have I/DDs and live-in support. Plaintiffs seek to compel DHA to make the PBV program available again and permit family ownership as a reasonable accommodation so that adults with I/DDs can obtain appropriate long-term housing.

The Relman, Dane & Colfax litigation team is led by Glenn Schlactus, Sasha Samberg-Champion, Ryan Downer and Sara Pratt. Our co-counsel in Texas are Rachel Cohen-Miller and Christopher McGreal of Disability Rights Texas.

Click here for more information about CPSH and the lawsuit and here to review the Complaint.

Noteworthy Pleadings

To read press coverage of the case, click on the link below: