The federal government is joining a lawsuit that accuses the city of Los Angeles of misusing hundreds of millions of dollars from the Department of Housing and Urban Development that were earmarked for providing accessible housing for people with disabilities, the Department of Justice announced this week.
The lawsuit, which stems from a whistleblower complaint, alleges that the city of Los Angeles and the CRA/LA (formerly the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles) falsely certified that they were in compliance with federal accessibility laws in connection with housing grants from HUD.
The lawsuit alleges that Los Angeles applied for “millions of dollars” in federal money, some of which it provided to the CRA/LA, for the development of affordable housing that is accessible for people with disabilities.
In order to receive the HUD funds, the city and the CRA/LA are required to comply with federal accessibility laws, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Fair Housing Act, and the duty to affirmatively further fair housing. These measures are meant to ensure that people with disabilities have fair and equal access to public housing.