“We know that people with disabilities face a longer, more expensive and more difficult process when looking for housing. There is a severe shortage of housing that meets the accessibility needs of people with physical disabilities,” said MVFHC President and CEO Jim McCarthy. “Fair Housing Center is pleased to have reached an agreement that will improve the accessibility of Clover’s properties, allowing their elderly residents to age comfortably in place.”
The settlement requires approximately $3 million in renovations to the properties’ public and common areas, including accessible pathways around the building’s outdoor and common areas, adding ramps and curbs, and replacing sidewalks that have excessive slopes.
The agreement also requires $3.375 million for mobility-related modifications to individual units at the request of any resident of any of the 50 properties. This could include replacing patio or balcony sliding doors for a wider opening and lower threshold, handrails, grab bars, replacing bathroom vanities or sinks, installing showers wheelchair or hand accessible, lowering of kitchen counters and other accommodations.
Clover Group will pay $750,000 to fair housing organizations, including the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center, for resources expended to investigate the alleged violations and for attorneys’ fees, and all Clover Group employees involved in the design and construction of multi-family housing will undergo training on the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
The case is significant, according to Miami Valley Fair Housing Center staff, because the supply of affordable and accessible housing for people with disabilities is already slim.
“The number of properties with accessible features just isn’t enough,” said Miranda Wilson, director of investigations and enforcement at the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center. “There are waiting lists for accessible units, and once people get in, they obviously want to stay. Once you’ve found a place that meets your needs, you won’t want to move. So that means we have to produce units that are much more accessible than we are.
“We have a large population of baby boomers who want to stay in this community,” she said. “They want to stay in their homes, and making sure there are accessible housing options for them makes all the difference.”