FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2021
Contact: Izzy Woodruff | 202-898-1661 | IWoodruff@nationalfairhousing.org
NFHA Announces Settlement with BeeHive Homes, Inc. to Combat Disability-Related Housing Discrimination
NFHA’s complaints alleged that the assisted living provider discriminated against deaf and hard of hearing seniors
Washington, D.C. — The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) has reached an agreement with assisted living provider BeeHive Homes, Inc. that will help ensure equal housing opportunity for deaf and hard of hearing seniors seeking residence in BeeHive Homes, Inc. and with eight assisted living facilities in New Mexico and Utah. BeeHive operates eight of the 16 assisted living facilities sued by NFHA in May 2020 for violating the rights of deaf people.
“The agreement reached with BeeHive brings our country one step closer to fulfilling the Fair Housing Act’s goal of eliminating housing discrimination,” said Lisa Rice, NFHA’s President and CEO. “About half of people over the age of 75 have difficulty hearing, a statistic that underscores the importance of ensuring that senior living companies in particular include fair housing considerations in the implementation of their policies and practices.”
Unfortunately, discrimination against people who are deaf or hard of hearing is not a new issue. In 2013, NFHA and 11 member organizations investigated 117 national or regional rental firms in 98 cities and 25 states and discovered patterns of housing discrimination against apartment seekers who were deaf or hard of hearing. The federal Fair Housing Act makes clear that it is illegal for housing providers to refuse reasonable accommodation requests from people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The settlement announced today requires BeeHive to develop and maintain an affirmative non-discrimination policy and a reasonable accommodation request form; update marketing and communications materials to highlight the company’s commitment to fair housing; and conduct training—including onboarding training for new staff—about legal issues concerning persons in protected classes, such as those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The defendants must also pay $125,000 in damages and attorney’s fees.
The two complaints against BeeHive Homes were filed in the United States District Courts of New Mexico and Utah, but the terms of the agreement will apply to the policies, procedures, and operations of all facilities owned by BeeHive Homes, Inc., including the eight BeeHive facilities in New Mexico and Utah. The company has agreed also to provide these new policies to its franchises throughout the country.
NFHA was represented in this case by Andrew Rozynski of Eisenberg & Baum, LLP, and the investigation was supported in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Founded in 1988, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is a consortium of more than 200 private, nonprofit fair housing organizations and state and local civil rights agencies from throughout the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., NFHA works to eliminate housing discrimination and ensure equal housing opportunity for all people through leadership, education, outreach, membership services, public policy initiatives, community development, advocacy, and enforcement.