Los Angeles must cough up more than $200 million to settle a federal lawsuit claiming the city’s affordable housing developments for people with disabilities did not meet accessibility standards.
The settlement will be paid over the next decade as officials assess, redesign and fix nearly 4,000 units improperly approved for the disabled over the past 30 years, the L.A. Times reported.
The legal dispute was filed in 2012 by three nonprofits — Independent Living Center of Southern California, Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley, and Communities Actively Living Independent and Free.
They argued that the city had touted its financial support for these affordable housing developments, some of which were subsequently built by private developers, but when disabled residents went to buildings that were advertised as accessible, many found otherwise. Some had doorways that were too narrow to fit wheelchairs or bathrooms without grab bars, the lawsuit states. When residents made complaints, neither the city nor the redevelopment agency took action, the advocates said.
The city is unsure how many of the 4,000 units are up to accessibility standards.
“Until we actually go in and evaluate every unit and make that determination, we really can’t tell you,” City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana told the Times. [LAT]— Cathaleen Chen