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Complexes accused of discriminating against deaf people

Complexes accused of discriminating against deaf people

Three complexes in Austin were found in violation

By Ignacio Garcia

January 9, 2014, 8:48 PM CST

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Three apartment complexes in Austin were accused of discriminating against deaf people.

The National Fair Housing Alliance says these complexes, and others across the country, treat deaf people looking for apartments, and deaf apartment residents, unfairly.

Some in the local deaf community were not surprised by the findings.

Patti Singleton hears complaints from her students often about their landlords.

"Many times I have deaf students come here and explain that they're having a problem with the apartment manager not responding for their request for help to fix something," said Patti Singleton, an ACC counselor. "They don't want to take the time to write."

Singleton said that complaint is common.

"It's sad and frustrated that this is still happening here in the 21st century," she said. "Deaf people have good jobs, they pay taxes, they work, but they're discriminated against and they're still treated as second class citizens."

Singleton said she was not surprised when she learned about the accusations of housing discrimination.

The Austin Tenants Council sent undercover investigators to complexes, and 38 visits found three were violating their housing rules for the deaf. One was located in South Austin and two on the north side.

"They were not told about specials, not told about units that were currently available," said Kathy Stark with Austin's Tenants Council. "Not told all the details that the people could hear were told."

Undercover testing happened across the U.S. in 98 cities coast to coast. The complaints will be filed with the US Housing and Urban Development Department.



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