Springfield Housing Authority paying $51K to resolve discrimination claim

Agency allegedly did not properly communicate with deaf 82 year-old tenant

duggan park public housing
WWLP file image shows apartments at the Duggan Park complex in Springfield, a Springfield Housing Authority property

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield Housing Authority is paying more than $50,000 to a deaf elderly tenant, to resolve claims that the agency didn’t provide her with proper equipment to receive emergency notifications.

According to a news release sent to 22News by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the 82 year-old woman filed the complaint, alleging violations to the Fair Housing Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The complaint charged that the tenant did not have the same access to notification and other services available to hearing tenants.

The Springfield Housing Authority has agreed to pay the woman $51,000, and provide a device to allow for a video relay system in her apartment. They will also communicate with her through sign language, or the video relay system. Also, they will have to consult with experts in disabilities on how to properly serve tenants who are deaf, and implement best practices for fire safety with respect to deaf or hard-of-hearing tenants.

The authority will also have to pay $5,000 to monitor its compliance with the agreement over the next three years.

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