The week has not been kind to the Community Redevelopment Agency of LA--first came news that the US Attorney's Office is launching a fraud investigation to see if the CRA/LA has been ignoring provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act in its redevelopment work. According to the LA Times, federal investigators requested the preservation of records for CRA/LA housing projects going all the way back to 1988. In the past, activists have said "that doors were sometimes too heavy for wheelchair users to open, elevators were not working in at least one city-funded building, and managers either refused to rent to wheelchair users or did not have apartments available for them." Then today came news that Mei Ling, a North Hollywood resident who must use a wheelchair, is suing the CRA/LA for discrimination she says she encountered while seeking affordable housing at North Hollywood's NoHo 14 and the Lofts at NoHo Commons. The LA Daily News reports that Ling applied for units at both buildings, but, her lawsuit says, "she encountered long wait lists, a practice of intimidation, and indifference by building owners, managers and CRA staff."
Ling's charges are unique because they seek to hold the CRA/LA responsible for the actions of the many developers and builders with which the agency partners.
According to both the stories, Los Angeles city agencies have received many complaints over the years for failing to meet ADA requirements. The CRA/LA was forced to create a task force for dealing with those issues as part of the settlement of a lawsuit regarding Downtown's Alexandria Hotel. There is no word about whether Ling's lawsuit is somehow connected to the federal investigation.
· Los Angeles under federal investigation over disabled housing [LA Times]
· Disabled North Hollywood woman suing redevelopment agency [Daily News]
· Tenants at Downtown Hotel Reach Settlement of Lawsuit [NBC LA]