The Legal Center has been committed to promoting and defending the rights of people with disabilities to obtain integrated, safe, accessible housing for nearly a quarter century. Since our inception, we have sought to tackle the physical barriers, stereotypes and stigma that threaten to deprive individuals with disabilities the equal opportunity to live independently, prominently and proudly in our communities. From our early efforts advocating integration and community living on behalf of people forced to live in institutions, to enforcing accessibility requirements in newly constructed housing, our mission has increasingly taken us from the locked ward to the house next door.
In 1968, just days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Congress passed Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968-the Fair Housing Act. Twenty years later, Congress extended the protections of this Act to people with disabilities. Under the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination in housing rental, sale, lending, advertising and insurance practices. Importantly, the Act also required most new, multifamily residential construction be designed and built to include basic accessibility features.
The Legal Center prioritizes its fair housing advocacy work to assist Coloradans with disabilities in obtaining affordable, accessible housing. We routinely assist people with disabilities that are in jeopardy of losing their housing for reasons related to disability and accessibility, and we advocate the provision of legally required accommodations necessary for them to continue to live in their home. Our assistance can range from obtaining a flashing doorbell for a tenant with deafness to fighting neighborhood resistance and restrictive zoning requirements against a hospice home for people with AIDS.
Here are links to additional resources for individuals with disabilities and their family members with housing issues.
HUD resources specifically for people with disabilities, including access to fair housing laws, general housing resources, accessibility guidelines, and HUD news.
Information on filing a complaint of housing discrimination with the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at HUD. Links are available to file online, by mail or in person.
The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, a coalition of national consumer, advocacy, provider and professional organizations, maintains a website of helpful information on promoting accessible housing programs in your community through grass roots advocacy. The Consortium’s Opening Doors newsletter is an excellent source for technical housing advocacy information and is available online at this site.
The National Fair Housing Advocate online newsletter offers fair housing headlines and other civil rights news from across the country updated on a daily basis.
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law provides legal advocacy resources and national advocacy for the civil rights and human dignity of people with mental disability.