Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, Congressman William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Chair of the Housing, Community Development and Insurance Subcommittee, and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) recently sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office requesting a report on the availability of affordable, accessible housing in the twenty-five largest metropolitan areas in the United States. Today, that request was approved by GAO with work set to begin in a few months.
Specifically, GAO will explore:
How does HUD oversee public housing agencies' implementation of requirements to protect persons with disabilities from discrimination when applying for or living in public housing?
What is the inventory of accessible public housing units in the twenty-five largest metropolitan areas in the US? What is the estimated gap between households requiring assistance and available units in those areas?
What are the processes that housing authorities follow to help voucher-assisted households with disabilities find accessible units or retrofit non-accessible units? What happens if a voucher-holder is not able to find an accessible unit?
What are the twenty-five largest metropolitan areas, including Chicago and St. Louis, doing to accommodate the housing needs of low-income households with disabilities
How does HUD promote, catalog, and work to increase housing for people with disabilities?
"I am very encouraged that the GAO accepted this critical request to investigate whether large cities are complying with the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act," said Congresswoman Schakowsky. "I look forward to the completion of this report that will help our federal, state, and local governments ensure that their housing departments are in compliance with the law, and that they have a sufficient supply of affordable accessible housing units."
"Individuals with disabilities deserve equal access to homes that both accommodate their needs and provide for a safe environment for them to thrive," said Senator Duckworth. "As a basic starting point, our federal housing programs must reflect that goal, which is why I'm glad the GAO has accepted our request to conduct a thorough review of ADA compliance in various housing units so we can better understand where we are, where we want to go and how we get there."
"As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance, I have made it my goal from day one to work to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable housing, and it is critically important that HUD prioritizes access for the disabled, a particularly vulnerable population, consistent with recommendations of the National Council on Disabilities that were rendered almost a decade ago," said Congressman Clay.