For Immediate Release:
Ashley White, Equal Rights Center, 202.370.3204
EQUAL RIGHTS CENTER AND THE COHEN COMPANIES, INC. COLLABORATE TO INCREASE ACCESSIBLE HOUSING FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 18, 2012 The Equal Rights Center (ERC)—a national non-profit civil rights organization—and The Cohen Companies Inc. (Cohen Companies), which specializes in the development, acquisition and management of residential and commercial real estate in and around the Washington D.C. Metro Area, announced today an agreement to work together to increase the supply of accessible housing for people with disabilities in the District of Columbia.
“The ability to enter into, move about, and actually be able to use a home’s kitchen and bathrooms is something most of us take for granted. Ensuring that same accessibility for the millions of people with disabilities, however, continues to be a challenge.” said ERC Executive Director, Don Kahl. “The ERC is pleased to add Cohen Companies to the growing list of housing developers, owners and managers that are collaborating with the ERC because making housing accessible is not only the right thing to do, it makes good business sense.”
Under its agreement with the ERC, Cohen Companies has agreed to address all accessibility issues in nearly 300 individual units, and in the public and common use areas in its Loree Grand apartments located at 250 K Street N.E., and its Velocity Condos/Square 699N, located at 1025 First Street S.E., both in Washington, D.C. Cohen Companies will also provide its senior management with training on accessibility issues, will review its polices relating to people with disabilities, and will reimburse the ERC for its costs in reaching the agreement.
Currently, nearly 55 million people in the United States are living with a disability, and by 2050, an estimated one in every three households will include a person with a disability. For nearly a decade, the ERC has worked with multifamily housing developers, owners and other industry leaders across the country, resulting in nearly 60,000 existing apartment and condominium units being made more accessible to people with disabilities, and many thousands more being built with accessibility features.
The ERC was represented by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs in reaching this agreement. “Ensuring people with disabilities can live in the communities of their choice is a pillar of the Fair Housing Act,” said Megan K. Whyte, Fair Housing Project Director at the Committee. “We are delighted that Cohen has joined the ERC’s ongoing effort to ensure equal housing opportunities for the millions of people with disabilities living in this country.”
About the Equal Rights Center (www.equalrightscenter.org)
Originally formed in 1983, the Equal Rights Center (ERC) is a national non-profit civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. With members located in every state and the District of Columbia, the ERC works nationally to promote equal opportunity in housing, employment, disability rights, immigrant rights, and access to public accommodations and government services for all protected classes under federal, state, and local laws.
About the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs (www.washlaw.org/)
The Washington Lawyers&rsquo Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs was established in 1968 to provide pro bono legal services to address issues of discrimination and entrenched poverty. Since its founding, the Committee has handled more than 5,000 cases on behalf of individuals and advocacy organizations in the areas of equal employment, fair housing, public accommodations, public education, asylum and refugee rights, and disability rights.
About tMorrison & Foerster, LLP (www.mofo.com)
Morrison & Foerster is a global firm with over 1000 lawyers in key technology and financial centers in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Founded in 1883, MoFo remains dedicated to providing its clients with legendary service. Morrison & Foerster attorneys share high standards and a commitment to excellence.