Agreement Also Includes Initiative to Assist Persons with Disabilities and Seniors To Transition from Institutions into Community-based Settings
Cleveland, OH, July 25, 2008 – The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that they have entered into a Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) that will create 482 fully-accessible units for CMHA residents and applicants with disabilities.
“This agreement goes a long way toward creating more of the accessible units CMHA residents with disabilities so desperately need,” said Kim Kendrick, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “This week we recognize the 18th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and I can think of no more fitting tribute than this collaboration. As we create more affordable housing opportunities for persons with disabilities, we fulfill both the purpose and intent of the legislation that cemented our nation’s commitment to meeting the needs of individuals who are often overlooked.”
In addition to creating accessible housing, the VCA makes CMHA an active coordinating agency in the “Money Follows the Person (MFP) Rebalancing Initiative,” ensuring that eligible participants will be given the highest priority for available CMHA housing units. The MFP Initiative expands accessible, affordable and integrated housing options for people with disabilities and seniors, helping with the transition from institutions back into home and community-based settings.
“CMHA is proud to be a part of the MFP Initiative. It will provide assistance to individuals with disabilities who have previously been unable to access housing and health care in community based settings. Hopefully, housing authorities across the country will participate as CMHA has committed to doing,” said CMHA’s Chief Executive Officer, George A. Phillips.
Under the new agreement, CMHA will:
- Create a minimum of five percent (482 units) of its housing stock into fully-accessible units that will include lower kitchen counters, grab bars, and other features of accessible design;
- Make improvements in the management of their housing wait list to maximize the availability of accessible units for individuals with disabilities and their families;
- Ensure that applicants and residents with disabilities who rely on assistance animals have equal, unrestricted access to CMHA’s programs;
- Ensure the continued availability of set-aside vouchers for persons with disabilities; and
- Train current and new employees about the responsibilities and procedures created under this agreement.
“This was truly a good faith collaborative effort between HUD and CMHA, where we rolled up our sleeves and created a program that will assist the county’s individuals with disabilities and hopefully serve as a model for other housing authorities as they develop programs to support their communities’ citizens with disabilities,” said Adrian Thompson, partner in Taft Stettinius & Hollister’s Cleveland office. Thompson represented CMHA in negotiating the agreement with HUD.
The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) owns and manages property and administers rent subsidy programs to provide eligible low-income persons good, safe, affordable housing. CMHA also provides other services that include: homeownership opportunities for qualified families; employment training opportunities, and other special training and employment programs for residents; and support programs for the elderly. For more information, visit www.chma.net.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov.