Baltimore's housing agency must pay a public housing resident $150,000 because the city failed to accommodate the woman's request to be moved, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Wednesday.
It also must pay the resident's attorneys $10,000, increase exposure of its reasonable accommodation policies and procedures, train staff about those policies and "submit regular reports to HUD on its efforts to promptly respond to reasonable accommodation requests," HUD said in a statement.
The resident, whom the federal housing agency did not identify, alleged that the city failed to fulfill her request "to be transferred to a larger unit that was closer to family support," the statement said.
"The resident and her young son are persons with disabilities who needed a larger unit near family members who could assist in caring for them," HUD said. The Fair Housing Act requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.
Over four years, the resident repeatedly requested to be moved into a four-bedroom apartment closer to her family, HUD said.
She also provided a doctor's letter saying that the move would help, HUD said. The doctor's letter said the boy's health would benefit from having his own room. In addition, the mother told the city she was concerned about the lack of heating and cooling controls, mold and pests in the two-bedroom apartment they occupied, the agency said.
The city only met her request several months after she filed a complaint with HUD, the statement said.
"Requests for reasonable accommodations that are needed by persons with disabilities must be taken seriously and receive timely responses," said Jane C.W. Vincent, HUD's Mid-Atlantic regional administrator.
The city housing agency did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday evening.
twitter.com/stevekilarCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun