The plaintiff in this case lived with her two minor sons for a time in shelters run by the District of Columbia. Homeless since 2004, she relies on a wheelchair for mobility and claimed that the shelter system was administered in such a way as to discriminate against against persons with ...
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The plaintiff in this case lived with her two minor sons for a time in shelters run by the District of Columbia. Homeless since 2004, she relies on a wheelchair for mobility and claimed that the shelter system was administered in such a way as to discriminate against against persons with disabilities. Her suit, filed on July 3, 2008 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, claims violations of Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504, and the Fair Housing Act. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that she was housed in an inaccessible unit on the fourth floor. It took forty-five minutes for her to painfully climb the stairs. The hallways were not wide enough for her wheelchair, and she was often trapped in her unit, rather than risk the climb downstairs. Though there was a working elevator to the fourth floor, her site manager told her she was not permitted to use it, and her requests for a first floor unit were denied.
The plaintiff claimed that the shelters were generally inaccesssible to persons with mobility impairments, and that the refusal by staff to make reasonable accommodations to their placement policies violated the law.
At the time she filed her suit, there was a settlement in place between the United State Department of Justice and the District of Columbia. DJ#204-16-96. This settlement contemplated future implementation of physical access plam for the shelter program, changes to the process by which reasonable modification requests are made and decided, direction to and oversight of contractors and subcontractors that provide services for the shelter program, and enhancements to the training of shelter staff; provisions that would apply to the plaintiff.
On February 24, 2009, the plaintiff entered a settlement agreement that in addition to requiring payment of monetary damages to her and to a Special Needs Trust Fund, required defendant to modify all its reasonable modification forms, to keep records of requests for reasonable modifications and the steps taken pursuant to such requests, provide training for its staff, to increase annual expenditures for repairs and modifications that enhance the accessibility and safety or units or common areas used by residents with disabilities.
The case was closed the same day. Denise Heberle - 08/30/2012