The federal government helped build the apartment complex in Arizona that was designed to provide affordable housing for the deaf. Now, the government believes it’s discriminatory.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development spent $2.6 million to help build the Apache ASL Apartments in Tempe, Ariz., because it helped the deaf, according to KSAZ. However, that same federal agency now says the complex is guilty of discriminating against people who are not deaf -- and is demanding 75 percent of the units be rented to those who are not disabled.
Fox News reports that a federal study in 2005 found that the U.S. had virtually no affordable housing for the deaf. So the federal government helped build the 75-unit apartment building designed specifically for the deaf and 90 percent of the units are currently occupied by deaf and deaf-blind seniors.
HUD is threatening to pull all federal housing aid to Arizona unless it limits the number of hearing-impaired residents to 18 people. The agency would not forcibly remove current residents, but wants many of their units to be blocked off to deaf residents in the future once they leave.
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"I think it's about the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a while," Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake told Fox News. "There are a lot of stories of out-of-control regulators, but this just seems to be going to the extreme."
Residents of the apartment complex have expressed their concerns and fears.
"I would be devastated. I would cry. I want to stay here, we need this place," resident Rose Marie Prynce said to KSAZ.
State housing director Michael Trailor has refused to comply with the federal orders. State taxpayers and the apartment's developer have spent $500,000 so far fighting HUD.