TEMPE, Ariz. (CBS Las Vegas) – An apartment complex designed for the hearing impaired is being accused of discrimination.
According to KSAZ, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) spent $2.6 million to help build the Apache ASL Apartments because it caters to deaf people, but now the “federal agency says the complex is guilty of discriminating against people who are not deaf.”
“To basically say there are too many disabled people here is just nuts,” Sen. Jeff Flake said to KSAZ.
HUD is demanding that the complex be rented to 75 percent of people without disabilities, which would displace a majority of resident in the apartments.
“I would be devastated. I would cry. I want to stay here, we need this place,” resident Rose Marie Prynce told the tv-station.
Every unit in the complex accommodates a wheelchair and blinking lights signal the doorbell, disposal and fans. The apartments are one of the few built in the U.S. that specifically cater to the hearing impaired.
“It’s nice to have a life that’s equivalent to other people that are not deaf,” complex manager Linda Russell explained to KSAZ.
Michael Trailor, the Arizona Department of Housing Director, said that dealing with HUD on this issue has been extremely difficult.
“The attorney’s I dealt with at HUD, I would characterize as ignorant and arrogant and much worse, they are powerful,” Trailor told KSAZ.
A few months ago Trailor met with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan to try to resolve the problem, but nothing has changed even after Donovan reportedly told Trailor that HUD has taken too long to resolve the problem and that it’s not being handled well.
“I’m really disappointed and I’m disappointed with their inability to not understand out there in the hearing world, it’s really lonely to be deaf,” Russell shared with the tv-station.
HUD declined to comment to KSAZ about the on going issue.