Disabled person sign and gavel. Accessibility law concept.
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New York state officials have found probable cause that two assisted living operators discriminated against people with disabilities who use wheelchairs, setting up a potential court case.

The New York State Division of Human Rights concluded that Brooklyn Boulevard ALP, a 184-unit assisted living community in Brooklyn, and Boulevard ALP Queens, a 239-unit assisted living community in Flushing, were involved in housing discrimination, particularly targeting wheelchair users. 

The case stems from a 2022 Fair Housing Justice Center investigation, which found discriminatory statements on the facilities’ websites claiming they did not accept residents who “chronically” used wheelchairs. The FHJC complaint named Brooklyn Boulevard ALP LLC and Queens Boulevard ALP LLC, along with facility owners Louisiana Purchase LLC and Boulevard ALP Associates LLC.

FHJC Executive Director / General Counsel Elizabeth Grossman said the facts in this case are clear.

“Boulevard ALP is a huge housing provider who refused to rent to people with disabilities who use wheelchairs; they clearly stated this policy in their advertising; and they refused to make reasonable accommodations in their rules and policies for wheelchair users,” Grossman said. 

The case will either proceed at the Division of Human Rights or through court action.

The finding comes after the New York Department of Health last year announced changes to its assisted living regulations, prompted by a 2018 lawsuit brought by the Fair Housing Justice Center and two individuals against the state health department over alleged discrimination against wheelchair users.

The suit claimed that the state health department promoted disability discrimination through its regulations and policies. Adult homes were allowed to ban wheelchair users, and the state health department regulations said that assisted living operators “should not accept nor retain any person who … is ‘chronically chairfast,’” according to the complaint. 

The news rules mandate individual assessments for wheelchair users and require operators to consider requests for reasonable accommodations, prohibiting blanket bans based on mobility impairments.