The Kelsey’s HUD Section 504 ANPRM Public Comment

The exterior of The Kelsey Civic Center, with City Hall pictured in the background.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, implementing regulation at 24 C.F.R. part 8. This is the first time in over 30 years that HUD is considering potential changes to the regulation requiring accessibility and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability in HUD-Assisted Programs. The Kelsey is grateful to have submitted a comprehensive response to this notice of proposed rulemaking.

The content of this letter is based on The Kelsey’s experience at local, state, and federal levels, as well as the feedback from our partner organizations, including consultation with accessible design experts and disabled-led organizations.

Section 504 has played a pivotal role in combating housing discrimination against individuals with disabilities in federally funded housing. Since the original enactment of Section 504, the nation’s housing market has drastically changed. Housing developers use a variety of subsidies to build deed-restricted affordable housing, including LIHTC, state and local subsidies. The lack of updated guidance of what defines “public housing” and where Section 504 applies leaves many local jurisdictions and private housing developers to spend significant resources on legal interpretations and code compliance review consultants. The use of scarce resources on interpretation results in less housing being built, higher rents, or, in cases of our own projects, accessibility features being removed because of cost pressures. We urged HUD to provide as much guidance and clarity as possible through explicit regulations, advisory tools for local jurisdictions and developers to direct more resources towards resident-centered outcomes. View our entire submission here