Deaf News: Agency told to reduce number of deaf residents – in housing complex for deaf people

Posted on October 28, 2013

A housing director in the state of Arizona, U.S.A. has decided to go against a federal order that they must remove deaf residents from a housing complex built specifically to cater for deaf people.

In 2005, it was discovered that the U.S.A. had a severe shortage of affordable housing for deaf people, so the Government oversaw the construction of Apache ASL Trails. This 75-unit building was designed specifically to cater for deaf residents and their needs. Currently, 90% of the units provide affordable homes to deaf and deaf-blind people, particularly the elderly.

However, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has now declared that the apartment block violates civil rights laws, because it gives preference to the deaf over their hearing counterparts. They have announced that the number of units occupied by deaf residents must be cut to only 18. They reasoned they would not remove residents already in place, but that when they left their apartment would not be made available to other deaf people.

Refusing to comply with the order, state housing director Michael Trailor told Fox news;

“Quite frankly, the attorneys I dealt with at HUD I would characterize as ignorant and arrogant and much worse, they are powerful. And if they worked for me, I would have fired them a long time ago.”

Protestors have already spent $500,000  fighting the HUD decision.

Mary Vargas, an attorney for the residents, said; “It’s impossible to walk into this building and not see that real people were hurt and continue to be hurt,”

The National Association for the Deaf has also commented, calling the actions “atrocious” and “a tragic irony.”

Each of the units accommodates wheelchairs, as well as providing flashing lights and video phones. The residents also have access to a large events room where they can meet socially.

“It’s nice to have a life that’s equivalent to other people that are not deaf,” said resident Linda Russell. “This building is designed for deaf people, by deaf people, and we know what is best for our needs. And people that don’t understand our needs, should not be putting themselves in decision-making positions for us.”

“I’ve been living here for two and a half years,” said 74-year-old Rose Marie Pryce. “I love the deaf environment. We have a great time together. I have lots of friends. (If forced to move) I would be devastated. I would cry. I want to stay here, we need this place.”

Original article by Fox News.

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