Guidebook on the Rights of People with Disabilities

The Ability Center of Greater Toledo has produced a guidebook of tools for people with disabilities, advocates, housing providers, and state and local governments to create local ordinances that further the goal of community inclusion for people with disabilities. The Rights of People with Disabilities in Inclusive Communities under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Housing Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act aims to help stakeholders understand laws that protect people with disabilities and help them undertake community planning for inclusive, single-family neighborhoods. Inclusive neighborhoods exist where people with disabilities have the right to choose to live in, and visit, neighborhoods of their choice. 

The booklet provides basic information about the Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988, which added people with disabilities as a protected class, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. It also discusses the 1999 Supreme Court Olmstead decision that held that unjustifiable isolation of people with disabilities constitutes discrimination under Title II of the ADA.  Title II of the ADA requires public entities to administer services, programs, and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified people with disabilities.

The guidebook discusses discriminatory zoning and land use laws, as well as exceptions that should be made to them to provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. The guide also provides sample local ordinances that have procedures for requesting a reasonable accommodation and explains how to make a complaint to HUD or the Department of Justice.

Another section describes the concept of “visitability,” explains the standard International Building Code model, and discusses visitability ordinances. In addition, the distinction between universal design and visitability is clarified.

The guidebook is at:

Additional information about the Olmstead decision is on page 6-13 of NLIHC’s 2017 Advocates’ Guide at: