The Equal Rights Center, a national non-profit civil rights organization, has released a new toolkit to help veterans with disabilities advocate for accessible housing. 

The Veterans with Disabilities Toolkit highlights the rights to accessible housing afforded to veterans with disabilities under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). This toolkit provides an overview of the rights provided by the federal FHA, information on accessible design requirements of multifamily development, how to request a reasonable modification or accommodation from property owners or managers, and answers to frequently asked questions.

According to government sources, 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for service-related disabilities, more than double the estimate of 21 percent who filed such claims after the Gulf War. The lack of available accessible housing for these veterans with disabilities contributes to higher rates of unemployment and homelessness. Approximately 12 percent of the homeless population is made up of veterans, which in real numbers amounts to almost 50,000 homeless veterans on our streets.

“Every year, hundreds of thousands of veterans return home to new challenges and barriers due to physical and mental disabilities resulting from their service to and for our country,” said Melvina Ford, executive director of the Equal Rights Center. “Under the federal Fair Housing Act, these veterans are entitled to accessible housing and beyond that our gratitude and respect.”