A Citizen, Pro Se

MCS – Fair Housing Act Complaint

On Friday, June 20, 2008, I called HUD’s Region V (Chicago) office to phone in a complaint. Because I had been told that the renovations were going to start the following Monday, I insistently requested immediate injunctive relief — ‘Prompt Judicial Action,’ in the language of the Fair Housing Act. HUD/FHEO representative Maurice J McGough at first understood my need for an injunction (or a temporary restraining order) that would prevent Yarco from introducing construction chemical fumes into my living space, and McGough agreed to file for ‘Prompt Judicial Action’. He and I discussed the ‘Daubert-proof’ argument I would write, based on HUD’s civil rights definition of ‘disability,’ their 1992 Directive (GME-0009) recognizing MCS as a handicap, and the HUD/DOJ 2004 Joint Statement on Reasonable Accommmodations under the Fair Housing Act. McGough and Chicago investigator Farrah Tunk then began negotations with Yarco, and McGough reneged on his promise to file for injunctive relief.

The case was referred to the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC), who sent a written copy of the complaint for my signature. On July 22, I corrected their text (based on an email attachment that Tunk had sent me) to more accurately represent my situation. I faxed a signed copy of the complaint below to HUD (Chicago) on July 22, and to ICRC on July 23 (their fax was down on the 22nd).

The HUD/ICRC version of the complaint had left out all the upper-echelon Yarco people, leaving only the three lowest-ranking employees listed as ‘Respondents’. The HUD/ICRC version also had the following text for item 7, incorrectly describing both my handicaps and the danger involved in exposing an MCS-handicapped person to construction chemicals. Here’s their uncorrected text:

Complainant is a woman with mental (depression) and physical (MCS and CFS) disabilities who lives in subsidized housing. Complainant made several requests for a reasonable accommodation. However, on June 18, 2008, she requested management to exclude her unit from the renovation process unless MCS-safe materials are utilized or astrong effort is made to install well-placed exhaust fans to protect her and her unit from accumulating dust and chemical odors during the renovation period. Management has knowledge of her disabilities; but they have refused to honor all her requests. Complainant believes management has refused to provide her with a reasonable accommodation because of her disabilities.

So, HUD/ICRC framed the issue as ‘Crazy woman complaining about chemicals’ instead of ‘MCS-handicapped tenant’s physical safety endangered’. Cute. But typical. Please compare their text to item 7 below.

HOUSING DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT

HUD INQUIRY NUMBER: 257320
HUD CASE NUMBER: 05-08-1302-8
SEC. 504 CASE NUMBER: 05-08-1302-4
HUD DATE FILED: June 20, 2008

ICRC CASE NUMBER: Hoah08070419
ICRC DATE FILED: July 9 2008

1.

 

Complainants‘Anne E. Citizen’
XXXX S. Winslow Court
Bloomington, IN 47401

2. Other Aggrieved Persons

None.

3. The following is alleged to have occurred or is about to occur:

Failure to make a reasonable accommodation.
Making dwelling and common areas unavailable due to handicap.
Denial of equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling and common areas due to handicap.
Making dwelling and common areas inaccessible and unusable due to handicap.
Limiting use of privileges, services, and facilities due to handicap.
Unlawful inquiry into nature and severity of handicap.

4. The alleged violation occurred because of:

Handicap

5. Address and location of the property in question (or if no property is involved, the city and state where the discrimination occurred):

XXXX S. Winslow Court
Bloomington, IN 47401

6. Respondent(s)
The Yarco Companies
3370 Broadway
Kansas City MO 64111

SY Henderson Court Investors LP
3370 Broadway
Kansas City MO 64111

Clifton Cohn
The Yarco Companies
3370 Broadway
Kansas City MO 64111

Jonathan Cohn
The Yarco Companies
3370 Broadway
Kansas City MO 64111

J. David Page
1911 65th Ave West
Tacoma WA 98466

Stuart P. Hunt, Director of Development
Yarco Company
7920 Ward Parkway
Kansas City, MO 64114

Bob Kretschmer, Regional Manager
Yarco Company
3816 Dodson Chapel Road
Hermitage, TN 37076

Michelle Cornelison
Yarco Company
7920 Ward Parkway
Kansas City, MO 64114

Stephanie Royer, On-Site Manager
Henderson Court Apartments
2475 Winslow Court
Bloomington, IN 47401

7. The following is a brief and concise statement of the facts regarding the alleged violation:

Complainant meets the Fair Housing Act’s definition of disability for civil rights purposes, and receives Medicaid under Indiana’s definition of Medicaid disability. Patient suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). HUD’s 1992 Directive GME-0009 defines MCS as a handicap warranting reasonable accommodation under FHA and Section 504, and Complainant meets the definition of MCS established in GME-0009. Complainant’s disabling condition of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) requires her to avoid exposure to even small amounts of construction-related chemicals such as solvents. Landlord plans extensive renovations to increase units’ marketability (not ‘necessary repairs’). Landlord has denied two requests (January and June 2008) for a Reasonable Accommodation that would allow Complainant to continue to live in her HUD-subsidized Project-based Section 8 apartment without being exposed to construction chemicals which will cause her grave and irreparable physical harm (multiple organ damage, including brain and kidney damage, from solvents). Complainant requests IMMEDIATE INJUNCTIVE RELIEF to prevent exposure to toxic chemicals due to landlord’s planned renovations. Introduction of solvent-containg construction materials into Complainant’s dwelling and common areas (shared stairwell, the only means of egress) will make Complainant’s dwelling inaccessible and uninhabitable due to handicap (MCS). Complainant is without income of [sic] assets and loss of HUD-subsidized housing will lead to homelessness, yet tenant may be forced to vacate her dwelling to safeguard her physical health and safety.

8. The most recent date on which the alleged discrimination occurred:

June 18, 2008, and is continuing.

9. Types of Federal Funds identified:

HUD Assisted Housing (202, 811, 221D4, Project Based Section 8).

10. The acts alleged in this complaint, if proven, may constitute a violation of the following:

Section 804f3B of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 as amended by the Fair Housing Act of 1988.

Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act.

Please sign and date this form:

I declare under penalty of perjury that I have read this complaint (including any attachments) and that it is true and correct.

_____________________________________________ _______________
‘Anne E. Citizen’ (Date)

N O T E : HUD WILL FURNISH A COPY OF THIS COMPLAINT TO THE PERSON OR ORGANIZATION AGAINST WHOM IT IS FILED.

 

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1 Comment »

  1. Have hope

    Comment by Dr. C. Hite — April 22, 2011 @ 4:53 pm | Reply


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