Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Feldman on MA 2013 Fair Housing AI
Feldman on MA 2013 Fair Housing AI
Feldman on MA 2013 Fair Housing AI
Feldman on MA 2013 Fair Housing AI
Feldman on MA 2013 Fair Housing AI
Feldman on MA 2013 Fair Housing AI
Feldman on MA 2013 Fair Housing AI
Feldman on MA 2013 Fair Housing AI
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×
Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Feldman on MA 2013 Fair Housing AI

221

Published on

disAbility + human rights activist Eileen Feldman submits public comments on the Massachusetts 2013 draft, Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing (AI). The Massachusetts 2013 draft is here: …

disAbility + human rights activist Eileen Feldman submits public comments on the Massachusetts 2013 draft, Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing (AI). The Massachusetts 2013 draft is here: http://www.mass.gov/hed/docs/dhcd/hd/fair/draft2013analysis.pdf

Published in: News & Politics, Design
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
221
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. December 3, 2013 TO: Massachusetts Department Housing Community Development (DHCD) Attn: Office of the General Counsel margaux.leclair@state.ma.us sent by email RE: Public Comments, MA DRAFT 2013 Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice "ACCESS TO OPPORTUNITY IN THE COMMONWEALTH" Dear General Counsel Margeaux LeClair, Thank you for considering public comments to the DRAFT 2013 AI: Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice ACCESS TO OPPORTUNITY IN THE COMMONWEALTH.1 My recommendations focus on issues conditioning the availability of suitable affordable rental and homeownership opportunities for low/mod nonelderly disabled families, families with children with disabilities2 and, with regards to ongoing fair housing and civil rights issues relative to the safety and accessibility of the built environment as well as concerns regarding accessible information and communications, these issues also impact elderly households and people who are employed within and in partnership with DHCD (such as the CAAs). As the draft AI points out, residents with disabilities intersect with both minority and majority race/ethnicity cultures; however, the rates of identifying as disabled is uniquely conditioned by culture, is a complex issue, and confounds the stated prevalence rates to a degree that is not yet well understood. The draft might include a note on how the attribute of Disability (and also being female) multiplies the types and incidence of fair housing and civil rights impediments. Also, presence of disability is both causative and generative of higher incidences of poverty; this translates into severe rent burdens even where tenant assistance is present (as DHCD notes on p. 259). Speaking of demographics, the Draft has omitted the state's Native American demographics, which shows dramatically higher rates of disability within nonelderly populations than any other cultures. I welcome your further dialogue and hope to learn of available opportunities to work with and share ideas with DHCD and partners as the AFFH policies and projects continue to evolve. These comments are a very limited review; I wish I had more time. Thanks and have a great holiday season. Best wishes, Eileen Feldman 1 http://www.mass.gov/hed/docs/dhcd/hd/fair/draft2013analysis.pdf For purposes of determining Project Eligibility, HUD's definition of Disabled Family excludes families where the children are disabled. Disabled Family [24 CFR 5.403] A disabled family is a family whose head, spouse, or sole member is a person with disabilities. It may include two or more persons with disabilities living together, or one or more persons with disabilities living with one or more live-in aides. Nonelderly Disabled Family. [24 CFR 891.505] A nonelderly disabled (handicapped) family means a disabled family in which the head of the family (and spouse, if any) is less than 62 years of age at the time of the family’s initial occupancy of a project. 2 FELDMAN RECOMMENDATIONS, 2013 AI. page 1 of 8
  • 2. CONTENTS I OVERCOMING BIAS ... p. 3 1. The State and DHCD should invest in a comprehensive field study and data collection effort to apply the Opportunity Communities model along the lines of disability. ... p. 3 2. Since Data for the PwD civil rights class is not collected in a manner that is similar, equitable or as comprehensive as that for gender, race, certain ethnicities and age, DHCD should do further research to collect and examine existing data sets in addition to the ACS, AHS and CHAS ...p. 3 3. DHCD should invest in updating this AI within 3 years to similarly investigate the ways in which factors of community connectivity and enrichment ... are currently available to nonelderly households with disabilities and families with children with disabilities in Massachusetts. ...p. 4 4. DHCD should count people in Group Quarters for the purposes of the AI. ...p. 5 5. In the next AI draft, DHCD might include an overview of the current cross-agency partnerships which have stated plans regarding disability housing. II ACCESSIBILITY NONCOMPLIANCE IS A HIGH-IMPACT FAIR HOUSING and CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION, NOT AN INDUSTRY ENTITLEMENT. 1. To begin with, DHCD should name and implement a series of definite on-the-ground Action Steps that will result in clearly identifying the real numbers and scope of this issue, State wide, with specificity. DHCD should start by collecting specific information about the existing Section 504 Accessibility compliance conditions at all of the State's public HUD-funded housing assets in the next 12 months. 2. - Architectural Access Compliance should be a Tier One Criteria for DHCD evaluation of discretionary grants and funding proposals. 3. DHCD should clarify what aspects of accessibility have been surveyed per Section 504 standards, as are listed in the Mass Access Registry. 4. DHCD should clarify and be transparent regarding what type of surveys led to the Subsidized Housing Inventory data. FELDMAN RECOMMENDATIONS, 2013 AI. page 2 of 8
  • 3. I OVERCOMING BIAS 1. The State and DHCD should invest in a comprehensive field study and data collection effort to apply the Opportunity Communities model along the lines of disability. The draft AI does not include an adequate inspection and identification of the poverty concentrations, clustered segregation and worst case housing needs (both substandard housing and severe rent burdens) along the lines of disability. In particular, specific numbers and detailed characteristics of low, very-low and extremely low income nonelderly disabled households and families with children with disabilities who are: -on the PHA and Section 8 housing lists; -homeless and near-homeless due to housing problems3 severe rent burdens, domestic violence, new-onset disabilities, loss of employment, and/or insufficient finances; and -unsuitably housed in public and public/private housing units that lack minimal compliance with the accessibility features that are, by law, expected to be readily usable This should be considered necessary background data and included within the State's AI and AFFH Plans. 2. Since Data for the PwD civil rights class is not collected in a manner that is similar, equitable or as comprehensive as that for gender, race, certain ethnicities and age, DHCD should do further research to collect and examine existing data sets along lines of disability, in addition to the ACS, AHS and CHAS4. The measurable outcome would be a more extensive set of disability housing and environmental data to more fully identify what is unique to and what is similar between protected classes. Data disparities should be considered within equity studies. How are data-excluded classes receiving affirmative attention and opportunities? Does this impact their eligibility or inclusion in certain programs? DHCD's "Opportunity Neighborhood" MTW initiative might be an example of how being counted means being served. DHCD recognizes the need to increase mobility initiatives for PwD ( p 274: "Mobility programs should also serve persons without children, particularly persons with disabilities for whom safe neighborhoods is also a key issue.). 3 This Draft AI should include information regarding Housing Problems along the lines of disability in the same manner that this issue is analyzed along the lines of race/ethnicity. For example: The Prevalence of Housing Problems of Low, Very-Low and Extremely-Low Income Households with Mobility and Self-Care Limitations in MA was estimated as 384,955 individuals in the 2000 Census (Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Consolidated Plan/CHAS 2000 Data; I do not know if this is the most updated data set. 4 The Cornell University Employment and Disability Institute is a go-to resource for existing disability stats: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/c-statistics.cfm FELDMAN RECOMMENDATIONS, 2013 AI. page 3 of 8
  • 4. However, it is possible that DHCD's "Opportunity Neighborhood" MTW initiative (p. 273) should be expanded to explicitly include disabled families with children and also families with disabled children, regardless of race/ethnicity. The amazing set of resources and benefits being provided through this fabulous initiative to families with children could positively impact the future trajectory of disabled parent(s) and also disabled children. The fact that families with disabled children are not noted in the ACS data sets has unknown impacts on the types of programs and assets such families are eligible for. From the AI, here are 3 examples of data disparities and the Fair Housing questions that arise: 1. the Housing Needs of Families on Section 8 Statewide Waiting List (MA draft p. 260) includes families with disabilities and families with children- but excludes a count of families with children living with disabilities. What are the housing needs of families with disabled children? Where do they turn when requiring immediate shelter? 2. The Chart showing Homeless Population/Subpopulations includes "Seriously Mentally Ill" and PwHIV/AIDs- but excludes people with physical/sensory disabilities, disabled families, families with disabled children, and households where other types of critical illness caused loss of tenancy/homelessness (p. 260. Source: DHCD 2012 Action Plan (2011 Continuum of Care data) What kinds of emergency shelter and waiting-for-shelter options are available for nonelderly disabled families, critically ill homeless people, temporarily disabled people, and families with disabled children? Where is a ready listing of emergency shelter and CoC resources that have been adequately surveyed and deemed compliant by Federal accessibility standards? 3. Charts showing distribution of households assisted with Federal and State Housing subsidies does not help us to evaluate the prevalence and distribution of assisted housing opportunities relative to nonelderly disabled households and families with disabled children. Also noting the associated lack of data regarding % accessibility mobility and sensory units relevant to units accepting mobile vouchers (table 7.15, p 191) the very low % of accessibility mobility units within state family public housing (Table 7.13, p.189): What suitable housing options are available for nonelderly disabled individuals assisted with Federal and State subsidies? Are these nonelderly disabled households being channeled -and segregated within- nearexclusively age-restricted public housing instead of family housing because of correctable architectural and construction noncompliance in family developments that have Section 504, Fair Housing, and State 521 CMR accessibility obligations? 3. DHCD should invest in updating this AI within 1 year to similarly investigate the ways in which factors of community connectivity and enrichment ... such as -educational opportunities through the life span, -traditional and nontraditional employment possibilities, -safe, level and smooth public rights of ways leading to nearby public transportation nodes, accessible healthy food markets, -usable commercial clusters, -accessible civic, political and leadership engagement opportunities, and -accessible drop-in intergenerational social events... are currently available to nonelderly households with disabilities and families with children FELDMAN RECOMMENDATIONS, 2013 AI. page 4 of 8
  • 5. with disabilities in Massachusetts. I recommend that this be accomplished with a pilot Regional field study, which might tie in: interviews and surveys with nonelderly disabled families and families with disabled children; meetings with grassroots and more formally organized rights-based organizations; surveys of existing market and neighborhood conditions; and, investigation of the interdependent environmental, social, cultural and political factors that influence the roles disabled families play within urban environments; and, the ways in which disabled families shape and influence the wider community. The measurable outcome could be a Topical Brief on regional characteristics of nonelderly disabled individuals and families, including families with disabled children. This is the kind of study that would also be a valuable addition to the types of studies and planning currently informing other State equity development. DHCD should also affirmatively hire knowledgeable PwD to accomplish this study. Hire locally, hire cultural competence. 4. DHCD should count people in Group Quarters for the purposes of the AI. The draft discusses Group Quarters on p. 68, noting that 43,833 people were counted in nursing homes in 2010. An unknown number of PwD are currently inappropriately housed in nursing homes, rehabilitation settings and prisons and can thrive in community centers if the vouchers and other funding mechanisms can be coordinated - and if suitable housing becomes available. For purposes of linking DHCD's AI steps to increased housing for PwD who are the focus of the MA Community First Olmstead Plan, DHCD should acknowledge and identify the Group Quarters, aka the "excluded" population. The Group Quarters prevalence for MA 2010 is 239,0005 Prevalence of PwD within the excluded GQ population is estimated to be about 49.6% of the GQ count.6 5. In the next AI draft, DHCD might include an overview of the current cross-agency partnerships, which have stated plans regarding disability housing and note inconsistent plans, plus possible coordinating linkages. For example, the conclusions presented in 2010 by the Housing Subcommittee of the Massachusetts Systems Transformation Grant (STG)7 differ from the more action-oriented and integrative value principles enshrined within the Community First Olmstead Plan.8 5 http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0074.pdf Matthew Brault February 2008. Disability Status and the Characteristics of People in Group Quarters: A Brief Analysis of Disability Prevalence Among the Civilian Noninstitutionalized and Total Populations in the American Community Survey http://www.census.gov/people/disability/files/GQdisability.pdf 7 accessed online Dec. 2, 2013 at: http://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mass.gov%2Feohhs%2Fdocs%2Feohhs%2Fo lmstead%2Fstg%2Fhouse-summary-of-priority-recommendations.doc 8 see the Community First Vision Statement: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/consumer/disability-services/livingsupports/community-first/ 6 FELDMAN RECOMMENDATIONS, 2013 AI. page 5 of 8
  • 6. II ACCESSIBILITY NONCOMPLIANCE IS A HIGH-IMPACT FAIR HOUSING and CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION, NOT AN INDUSTRY ENTITLEMENT. DHCD names this Impediment: There Exists a Persisting Lack of Knowledge Regarding the Housing Rights of People with Disabilities, and Ongoing Segregation and Stigmatization of People with Disabilities Regarding ongoing accessibility barriers: These Impediments are not due to the lack of knowledge- the knowledge is readily accessible and free technical assistance is also available from a variety of well regarded and reliable sources. Accessibility noncompliance creates barriers in housing. Barriers in housing that are noted but left unmitigated; or are left tacitly tolerated and left for some far-off tomorrow, are: actions, omissions and decisions taken on the basis of disabled people which restrict housing choices, AND the availability of housing choices. DHCD and the State must take a strong and principled role in leading mitigation of accessibility deficiencies; and broadcast a clear signal that the State prioritizes and values the lives, rights and human capital of disabled residents over the opposing economic interests of industry. Accessibility violations segregate, humiliate and marginalize an entire class of residents- plus their families, friends, associates. 1. To begin with, DHCD should name and implement a series of definite on-the-ground Action Steps that will result in clearly identifying the real numbers and scope of this issue, Statewide, and with specificity. DHCD should start by collecting specific information about the existing Section 504 Accessibility compliance conditions at all of the State's public HUD-funded housing assets in the next 12 months. This benchmarking first step towards naming the actual existing conditions impacting HUD-based tenancies for PwD as well as all low-income families and individuals should reap outstanding public awareness and policy benefits. Step 1, to be completed within 6 months, might be: DHCD will request and collect, within 6 months, the most recent Self Evaluations and Transition Plans from all owners and agencies that manage sites and units identified in the State's HUD database, including: Public Housing, Housing Choice Vouchers, Section 8 project- based housing, New Construction and Substantial Rehabilitation, Section 202 and 811 Supportive Housing programs, and Section 236/HAP developments transitioning to LIHTC. DHCD will also clarify, for PHAs and managers of units in the Housing Choice Voucher Program, that HUD's HCVP Inspection Checklist includes "access" but that is not coordinated with the Section 504 standards. Therefore, it is still necessary for those sites to be evaluated using the more stringent Section 504 Accessibility Standards. FELDMAN RECOMMENDATIONS, 2013 AI. page 6 of 8
  • 7. Measurable Outcome: In 6 month's time, DHCD should be able to document which sites and units have responded with adequate, updated Section 504 evaluations. This information will be important to begin establishing a count of how many of the PHA sites are aware of their Section 504 obligations. Step 2, to be completed within 12 months, might be: For PHAs that have responded by stating they do not have any updated Section 504 Transition Plans, DHCD will provide technical assistance by publishing an updated Section 504 accessibility checklist. (This checklist might also be distributed through the Secretary's of State's Bookstore (per p. 9 of the SoS Regulations Manual). DHCD will follow up within 2 months to see if the PHAs require technical assistance in conducting Section 504 Self Evaluations, etc. Measurable Outcome: The results for this second step are a listing of which PHAs were provided technical assistance in conducting updated Self-Evaluations. Step 3, to be completed within 18 months, might be: DHCD's consultant will contact each of the entities that did not respond to last year's request for copies of the PHA's latest Section 504 Transition Plan; and/or did not respond to DHCD's technical assistance outreach. DHCD will set up a meeting with the PHA Director and PHA ADA Coordinator (do they even have one?)to establish a start date and completion date for accomplishing the Self Evaluation. Measurable Outcome: The results for this third step is a listing of which PHAs have agreed to begin and complete a Section 504 Self Evaluation within a stated timeline; and including that these PHAs were provided technical assistance in conducting Self-Evaluations. Next steps can be the timeline to complete Transition Plans; while these administrative actions are being completed, the funding mechanisms for accessibility retrofits and modernizations (which are supposed to prioritize Section 504 updates, anyway) should be worked through. DHCD's AI appears substantially incomplete without defining any definite Action Steps or timeline of progress regarding the architectural barriers and concomittant Fair Housing violations throughout the State. 2. - Architectural Access Compliance should be a Tier One Criteria for DHCD evaluation of discretionary grants and funding proposals. A reading of p. 258 and similarly pp 294-295 names access improvements, Universal Design and Visitability concepts as Tier 3 or 4 criteria. But I didn't see anywhere that actual accessibility compliance was included. FELDMAN RECOMMENDATIONS, 2013 AI. page 7 of 8
  • 8. When accessibility compliance isn't named, developers claim they "didn't know." Builders say they're "confused." There's no reason to coddle people who earn their living from selling housing. If DHCD names it, DHCD can limit the potential human and business liabilities. And PwD have more of a chance to expect accessibility as a move-in standard. Please name it right at the start, with the other Tier One criteria. 3. DHCD should clarify what aspects of accessibility have been surveyed per Section 504 standards, as are listed in the Mass Access Registry. The MassAccess Registry should come with a disclaimer, informing the home-seeker to call and speak to the manager to clarify the information prior to filling out the application. For example, information on availability may not be current. Also, the accessible route information is not yet reliable or accurate. DHCD should emphasize the need for the information on this registry to be clearly designated as to whether it is reliable per standardized surveys, or just a best-guess. 4. DHCD should clarify what type of surveys led to the accessible units information within the Subsidized Housing Inventory data. According to the HUD Subsidized Inventory listing for MA- which differs from the MassHousing List of November 2013- there are approximately 665 sites, total , located within: state and federal public housing, housing supported with state assistance (including privately-owned housing with public subsidy), state or federal rental assistance, and housing assisted with federal funds administered by the state. The breakdown looks like this: Total Units 66,420; Total Assisted Units 53,082 Total Units Designated for Elderly 16,763; Total Units Designated for the Disabled 2,124; and Total Units with Accessible Features 4,698 The Chapter 334 of the Acts of 2006 mandate that accessibility features of subsidized units be evaluated and reported on annually is a limited information set; and it is not at all clear whether the reports were preceded by any standardized surveys. DHCD should clarify this point- as with the MassAccess Registry. Measurable Outcome DHCD will prevent the risks associated with disseminating unreliable information. FELDMAN RECOMMENDATIONS, 2013 AI. page 8 of 8

×