July 25, 2005

HUD Painstakingly Documents the Well-Known

For Rent sign and apartment interior

The built environment teaches.

Design decisions reflect values - more to the point, valuations of human beings. What is learned by those who own or are responsible for managing structures that discriminate by design, rather than apply Universal Design, has been meticulously documented in the study, Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities: Barriers at Every Step.:

I arrived at the property at 11:15.

I was looking for the 701 buzzer to ring as I had been instructed in my appointment call. A woman who I assume I spoke to yesterday to make an appointment opened the doorway halfway. She asked me if I was the one who had an appointment. I told her yes. She very abruptly stated, "No wheelchairs here. You can't come in!" I attempted to ask if there was another entrance that I could use to enter the building. She muttered "you should have said something on the phone." She asked twice, "Can you walk?" I told her no. She repeated, "No wheelchairs here, no way!" She said, "Apartment's too small." I looked at her dumbfounded and replied, "OK!"

Later that day, the nondisabled tester visited the same property. She was buzzed into the lobby of the building, which had an elevator, shown three available apartments and provided information about rents, security deposits, and fees.

The blatant behavior quoted above is not an everyday occurrence. More frequently property owners are content to let their property's inaccessible design silently argue, and enforce, discrimination ideology.

Having lived with Baby Boomers all my life, observing their impatience with injustice - or simply poor customer service - and noting that they are rapidly swelling the ranks of those with disabilities, I would advise the observant to recalculate the cost/benefit and seriously examine the risk factors of continuing a laissez faire exclusionary policy in housing and hospitality. The purpose of this study is to strengthen enforcement of the Fair Housing Act which will in turn stimulate demand for visitable, "guestable," universally designed accommodations.

HUD Study Shows People With Disabilities Discriminated Against More Than Any Other Group When Seeking Rentals

WASHINGTON The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is
releasing a groundbreaking, Chicago-based study, Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities: Barriers at Every Step, that shows people with disabilities are often discriminated against when trying to rent
apartments. The agency plans to use the comprehensive study to provide
fair housing advocates nationwide with a standardized tool that will
allow them to investigate and detect discrimination against people with

WHO: HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson
Representatives of Urban Institute and Access Living

WHAT: Results from Chicago-based disability study
Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities: Barriers at Every Step

WHERE: Marriott at Metro Center
775 12th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
Salons C and D

WHEN: July 25, 2005 @ 2:00 p.m.

For more information, contact Antoinette P. Banks # 202-708-0685 Ext. 4294


Mark S. Quigley
Director of Communications
National Council on Disability
1331 F Street, NW, Suite 850
Washington, DC 20004
202-272-2074 TTY
202-272-2022 fax

Further Reading:

Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities: Barriers at Every Step

Accessible Cruises, Fair Housing, and the Americans With Disabilities Act

Inclusive Tourism: Some Definitions

Getting the Design Right - Inclusive Destination Development

Posted by rollingrains at July 25, 2005 04:33 PM