WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 25, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has reached a Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) with the Aurora, Illinois, Housing Authority (AHA), settling allegations that AHA’s rebuilding plan for a demolished public housing complex would have illegally denied housing to persons with disabilities, displaced families with children, and people on AHA’s waiting list, the majority of whom are African American. Under the agreement, AHA will develop 100 units of affordable family housing on the site of the demolished complex and in other locations.
The agreement settles a finding by HUD that AHA discriminated against African Americans, families with children, and people with disabilities when it blocked plans to provide replacement housing for the demolished Jericho Circle public housing complex in favor of building 40 scattered-site units that would be designated as supportive housing for veterans, persons with disabilities, and seniors. Additionally, only five percent of units under the new plan were to include accessible design features. HUD had given approval for demolition of the aging Jericho Circle site based on a redevelopment plan that called for creating up to 119 new mixed-income housing units divided between the Jericho Circle site and scattered sites to be acquired from foreclosed single family homes throughout the city. The redevelopment plan, which had been given preliminary approval by the Illinois Housing Development Authority, also called for ten percent of the units to include accessible design features and provided a right of return for the residents of the demolished site.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
“This agreement helps ensure that former residents of the public housing site and others of diverse backgrounds will have access to scarce housing opportunities,” said Bryan Greene, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to work with housing authorities and local governments to ensure that no one is illegally denied housing.”
The 100 units of affordable family housing will be scattered through the AHA service area, including the city of Aurora and western DuPage County. The units will be developed over a period of five years and will primarily be filled by individuals and families from the AHA’s local waiting lists. AHA will also identify former Jericho Circle residents who wish to return to the area. At least ten percent of the units will be designed to be accessible for persons with disabilities.
April is Fair Housing Month. If you have been trying to buy or rent a home or apartment and you believe your civil rights have been violated you can report it online at www.hud.gov/fairhousing, call 1-800-669-9777, TTY 1-800-927-9275 or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple devices, such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on Twitter at @HUDnews or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD. or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s News Listserv.