For Immediate Release
Alexis Squire, Equal Rights Center, 202-370-3209


WASHINGTON, November 11, 2014—Yesterday, the Equal Rights Center (ERC)—a national non-profit civil rights organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.—released a new toolkit to help veterans with disabilities advocate for accessible housing.

“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 ERC. “Under the federal Fair Housing Act, these veterans are entitled to accessible housing and beyond that our gratitude and respect.”

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.

“Our veterans—particularly those who return home with service-related disabilities—deserve equal treatment and opportunity in all aspects of their new lives,” said James Schenck, president and CEO of Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed). “It is imperative that we ensure that veterans with disabilities have the resources and education to be effective advocates for themselves and their families.”

The Veterans with Disabilities Toolkit highlights the rights to accessible housing afforded to veterans with disabilities under Title XIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, known as 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.


About the Equal Rights Center (
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 PenFed (
PenFed is a part of the Equal Rights Center’s Corporate Partnerships and Training Program. Established in 1935, PenFed is one of the largest credit unions in the country serving 1.3 million members. Our longstanding mission has been to provide superior financial services, responsive to members’ needs in a cost effective manner. The PenFed Foundation is a national charity working to meet unmet needs of the military personnel and their families in the areas of financial literacy, housing and support for the wounded..

About the Department of Housing and Urban Development (
The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government..

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