Posted on February 28, 2022

NWFHA Advocacy: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, Kennewick, WA

*“Jessica” and her 4-year-old son, *“Anthony” live in a ground floor apartment in Kennewick, WA.  Anthony has disabilities and utilizes a wheelchair; the family has a van with a side disability lift.  As the Fair Housing Act allows, Jessica requested a reserved parking spot nearest their home to transport her son safely and efficiently. The apartment manager assigned them a designated, blue, handicapped parking spot approximately 100 yards from their unit in an adjoining parking lot. Jessica complied and wheeled her son along a long sidewalk, over curbs, and through a large grassy area with trees, bushes, and planted flower beds to the parking spot.  During inclement weather, Jessica navigated them through the traffic and parked cars of two parking lots to transport him to medical appointments, and daycare.

Under Fair Housing laws, assigning a designated, blue, handicap spot to a resident with disabilities is not granting a reserved parking space because anyone with a disability placard is allowed to park there. The blue ADA handicap spots are intended for visitors or vendors with disabilities as temporary parking that is to be liberated every few hours.  In addition, the blue handicap spot was a long distance from the family’s home.
*Names changed to protect privacy*

Protected Class Violation: Disability


NWFHA requested as a reasonable accommodation to reserve two standard parking spaces directly in front of the family’s apartment to accommodate the van’s side lift so the mother could easily load and unload her son safely regardless of traffic, snow, rain, or excessive heat. 

The apartments not only granted the accommodation, but also made an extraordinary gesture, AND voluntarily offered a reasonable modification of curb cuts at the reserved parking spots, so the family would have 100% wheelchair access close to home and no longer had to overcome obstacles!  
This action affirmatively furthered fair housing at the Kennewick apartments by making that area of the apartment complex accessible to all residents and guests with disabilities now and in the future.