Packed with state-of-the-art equipment focused on the needs of the deaf, a new Arizona housing facility was seen as a step forward for the Southwest. Instead, it's become a lightning rod, reports the New York Times, as federal and state officials feud over alleged discrimination at the complex. As it stands, people with hearing difficulties live in 69 of Apache ASL Trails' 75 apartments. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, however, wants to limit units specifically for the deaf to 25% of the facility—some 19 units.
Arizona used federal money to fund the development. But "federal law prohibits facilities that receive HUD funds from providing separate ... housing for one group of individuals with disabilities," says a department official, because it may cut availability for others "based on the types of disabilities they have." But, says the complex's developer, "our intention has never been to exclude, but to make sure the units are utilized to the fullest extent possible." The conflict may already be having repercussions outside the facility: an autism center in Phoenix has chosen to go private for its funding. Click for the full piece.