On August 6, 2018, Relman 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—alleged that DHA's actions violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Fair Housing Act, and state law.

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. 

In January 2020, DHA agreed to settle the lawsuit. Under the settlement, DHA will make available project-based vouchers for neighborhood-based single-family households that will allow more safe, affordable housing options for adults with disabilities in a seven-county area around Dallas. CPSH and DHA will work together to share information and key dates about voucher availability to people with disabilities, their families, service agencies, and property owners in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. CPSH will be among the organizations that will refer potential voucher holders to DHA.

The Relman Colfax litigation team, led by Glenn Schlactus, Sara Pratt, and Sasha Samberg-Champion, co-counseled with Disability Rights Texas.

Case Citation

Community for Permanent Supported Housing v. Housing Authority of the City of Dallas, No. 3:18-cv-2030 (N.D. Tex.)

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