Senior Communities Face Lawsuits for Discriminating Against the Deaf

Senior Communities Face Lawsuits for Discriminating Against the Deaf

Housing advocacy group says they violate the Fair Housing Act.

Sixteen senior living communities are facing lawsuits from a consortium of nonprofit fair housing organizations, McKnight’s Senior Living reports.

The suits allege that the communities did not provide interpreters or other aids when testers posing as deaf prospective residents or family members called or visited.

The National Fair Housing Alliance said that over the past 18 months, when testers called or made on-site visits to the senior living communities, pretending to be interested in learning more about the communities, staff members responded in a number of ways, including:

    • Refusing to provide a qualified American Sign Language interpreter or other reasonable accommodation so that the would-be resident or family member could communicate effectively.
    • Saying that there would be a charge for interpretation services.
    • Recommending that testers use a placement service to find a community better fitting the needs of the potential resident.
    • Stating that the community would not be a good fit for a prospective deaf resident.
    • Indicating that the community could not guarantee that ASL services would be available on a continual basis and that the resident might have to pay half of the charges for the service.

The NFHA alleges that these acts violate the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits housing providers from discriminating against people with disabilities.

The lawsuits were filed May 13 and covered a total of 16 communities in New Mexico and Utah.

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