Monday, April 29, 2013

Reverse Discrimination?

A senior living complex is facing charges--for favoring deaf residence. We first told about the problem back in December, that Federal official are investigating Apache ASL Trails in Tempe, Arizona for possible discrimination. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says it is a violation of the Fair Housing Act to have so many deaf people in the same complex. Nearly all of the 75 Apache ASL Trails units are occupied by deaf residents. A deaf architect designed it to fit the unique needs of the deaf and hard of hearing. There are flashing lights, video phones, and an interpreting service has an office in the complex. Ironically, it was the Arizona Department of Housing that put federal money into helping pay for its contraction. Last week, the National Association of the Deaf sent a letter to the federal housing secretary, which read in part:
In a nutshell, your agency, HUD, is forcing deaf and hard of hearing individuals to only live according to an ideological vision of forced integration. The tragic irony is that such an ideology has punished deaf and hard of hearing individuals seeking a higher quality of life and a safer place to live and has actually resulted in the forced isolation of individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing.
More than 70 advocacy groups have signed the document. You can read the letter here. HUD officials have responded by saying they will put its efforts on pause. No one has filed a formal complaint about the facility, and it owners say no one has been excluded in the advertising.