Ellensburg property owners being charged with disabilities discr - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Ellensburg property owners being charged with disabilities discrimination

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ELLENSBURG, WA - Some Ellensburg property owners are being charged with discrimination against people with disabilities after being in violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act.

Reporter Haley Gibbs went to the housing complex to get a firsthand look at the violations.

Steps instead of slopes, poles without handrails...these are just two of the reasons why the property owners of Ashlynn Estates in Ellensburg are being accused of discriminating against people with disabilities.

"There is a significant housing crisis for people with disabilities who need accessible, usable housing," said Lynn Grosso, Acting Deputy and Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Programs with Housing and Urban Development.

This is why the Fair Housing Act was created in 1991.

"It didn't require that property owners go back and take old construction and make it accessible," said Grosso, "but it did require that new construction, after '91, be made to be usable by people with disabilities."

And this is something that Riexinger Enterprises should've been well aware of before building these units.

"There are a variety of resources out there for any developers," Grosso informed us. "Any developer with multi-family housing should be aware of their obligations to meet the requirements of the fair housing act."

This means that this process could be a long and costly one.

"That might include costs that architects, our builders, our owners may have to incur to provide housing for people where their units may be unlivable to achieve compliance with the act."

But right now, it all depends on how Riexinger Enterprises responds to this charge. We were unable to contact them today, but we'll keep you updated as we learn more.

If you would like to get more information on the Fair Housing Act, you can visit this website: fairhousingfirst.org.