Communicate calls for improved oversight of accessibility in HUD-enabled homes

WASHINGTON, District of Columbia. Hundreds of thousands of homes that should be accessible to people with disabilities still lack essential accessibility features, according to a new watchdog report.

This U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report says the federal department responsible for overseeing fair housing issues needs to improve data collection to make sure homes are compliant.

It says the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) “does not systematically collect reasonable accommodation request data” for households that participate in its three largest rental assistance programs.

“Hundreds of thousands of HUD-assisted households with disabilities report living in non-accessible housing units,” the report says. “These households may request reasonable accommodations, including structural modifications, to meet their accessibility needs, but HUD does not have these data.”

The GAO recommends that HUD improve its data collection and develop an accessibility enforcement strategy.

“Because HUD isn’t collecting enough data, they don’t know what the real gap is,” said Alicia Puente Cackley, director of financial markets and public investment at the GAO. “Without a real way to quantify and track, they have no way to control and control well.”

In response to the findings, the report states that HUD disagrees and disagrees with the recommended changes, and notes ongoing challenges, including limited resources.

“The GAO would like HUD to collect the data it needs to be able to know if it is serving the people it needs to serve properly,” Cackley said. “They raised the issue of resources. We believe there are cost-effective ways to do things and they are already collecting data.”

This comes after we told you last week that a Senate committee discussed the barriers to affordable housing.

Legislators at that hearing said less than one percent of US housing is wheelchair accessible.

We spoke to Domonic Howell, who testified before legislators that she struggled all her life to find a place to live that was wheelchair accessible.

“That has always been a problem,” Howell said. “I had to either leave my chair outside the bathroom… or have a dresser like a toilet in my room, which is inhumane.”

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