Promoting Fair Housing For All Pennsylvanians

At SDHP, one of our goals is to educate housing and social service providers about Fair Housing, so that disability discrimination becomes a thing of the past. Jeff Fields, Region 10 RHC, recently provided a training for Nursing Home Transition Coordinators covering the Southeast region of the state (See picture). Nursing Home Transition (NHT) is an innovative state program that helps individuals move out of Nursing Homes and into community settings with support. The NHT Coordinators learned about the protected rights of people with disabilities in housing and how to advocate for those rights through reasonable accommodation and modification requests.

They also learned about special topics related to service/assistance animals and hoarding. By providing this education to service professionals that serve hundreds of consumers with disabilities who are moving into housing each year, the RHC program is doing its part to celebrate the spirit of the ADA and the FHA in ending discrimination against people with disabilities.

With the recent celebration of the 25th anniversary of the passing of the The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),  Americans celebrated a move by our society that denounced discrimination against people with disabilities and asserted that all people deserve equal treatment in many areas of public life such as employment, transportation, schools, telecommunications, and in places of public accommodation such as movie theaters, sports stadiums, hotels, and more.

However, SDHP also recognizes that when it comes to housing and disability discrimination, there is still a lot of education and advocacy to be done. While the ADA is a key law for people with disabilities, housing discrimination in the private sector more typically falls under the purview of the Fair Housing Act (technically, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended in 1988) The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that more than 2 million instances of housing discrimination occur each year, but fewer than 1% are reported. In 2013, disability discrimination made up 53% of all complaints under the Fair Housing Act. That means that nearly 1 million disability related discrimination complaints are never voiced.