Long Island Housing Services, Inc. (LIHS) initiated an investigation in 2019 based on an allegation of discrimination against a Glen Cove apartment complex. LIHS’ testing and investigation revealed that Glen Arms Apartment, Glen Arms Group, LLC, and their owner Arthur T. Mott Real Estate, LLC were discriminating against individuals with disabilities and individuals with housing vouchers.
“LIHS is sharing the information about this settlement to inform Long Islanders about their rights since discrimination based on disability or source of income is way too prevalent”, said Ian Wilder, Executive Director of Long Island Housing Services, Inc. “We hope that settlements like this one will provide other housing providers the opportunity to look at their own policies and investigate their own staff’s behavior to help end such discrimination.”
People who believe that they have experienced housing discrimination in Nassau or Suffolk Counties, can contact Long Island Housing Services at 631-567-5111 ext. 375, Hablamos Español 631-567-5111 Ext. 378, or firstname.lastname@example.org
The federal Fair Housing Act, New York State Human Rights Law, and Nassau County Human Rights Law all prohibit housing discrimination based on disability.
Furthermore, New York State and Nassau County human rights laws also prohibit discrimination based on a lawful source of income. Source of income discrimination occurs when a housing provider refuses to accept an lawful source of income, including
- Supplement Social Income (SSI),
- Social Security Disability (SSD),
- Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program,
- Nursing Home Transition and Diversion (NHTD) Housing Subsidy,
- Olmstead Housing Subsidy (OHS),
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Medicaid Waiver program, or
- child support.
As part of the investigation of the Glen Arms apartment complex, LIHS’ testers posed as ordinary home seekers to observe the business practices of housing providers in order to determine if housing providers are complying with fair housing laws. LIHS found that testers with Housing Choice Vouchers were unable to view available units and were told that the apartment complex was trying to “phase out” Section 8 tenants. The Housing Choice Voucher testers were treated differently and unfairly compared to LIHS’ testers that did not have one.
In addition, LIHS’ testers attempted to find housing for individuals that are disabled who reside in a nursing home facility and qualify for a Nursing Home Transition and Diversion (NHTD) Housing Subsidy or an Olmstead Housing Subsidy (OHS) housing vouchers. The Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Housing Subsidy (NHTD) program provides alternatives to nursing home placement for seniors and other adults with a disability. The goal of the program is to place the participants in private housing within the community. The Olmstead Housing Subsidy (OHS) is a statewide rental subsidy for high-need Medicaid beneficiaries and aids eligible Medicaid participants in transitioning from nursing home settings or preventing nursing home placement by providing access to private housing within communities.
Like the Housing Choice Voucher testers, the Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Housing Subsidy and Olmstead Housing Subsidy testers were unable to view the available units. They were told to speak with the manager. The testers with NHTD Housing Subsidy and Olmstead Housing Subsidy then made several attempts to contact the manager, who in turn never responded. The testers with NHTD Housing Subsidy and Olmstead Housing Subsidy were treated differently and unfairly compared to LIHS’ testers that did not have a housing voucher.
Based upon findings, Long Island Housing Services Inc. filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights for source of income and disability discrimination by Glen Arms Apartment, Glen Arms Group, LLC, and Arthur T. Mott Real Estate, LLC.
After negotiation, the parties reached a settlement agreement, including policy changes that include
- adopting a non-discriminatory fair housing policy,
- source of income policy and
- a reasonable accommodation policy. A reasonable accommodation is a change, exception, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice, or service that may be necessary for a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.
In the settlement agreement, Arthur T. Mott Real Estate, LLC, Glen Arms Apartments and Glen Arms Group, LLC also agreed to provide fair housing training to their employees and revise their rental applications, lease agreements and websites to include a statement of supporting fair housing laws.
Long Island Housing Services, Inc. Glen Arms Apartment, Glen Arms Group LLC, and Arthur T. Mott Real Estate, LLC agreed to settle for $11,000.00 in monetary damages.
Founded in 1969, Long Island Housing Services’ mission is the elimination of unlawful discrimination and promotion of decent and affordable housing through advocacy and education LIHS is a private, nonprofit HUD-qualified Fair Housing Enforcement Organization and a federally certified, approved Housing Counseling agency. (www.LIFairHousing.org)
The Fair Housing enforcement and advocacy work of LIHS is supported through grants from the Fair Housing Initiatives Program of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development and from the Nassau County Office of Housing and Community Development, which provides support for LIHS’ housing counseling and fair housing efforts with federal pass-through funds of HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program.