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Today HPD (Housing Preservation & Development) in NYC demanded proof that I have disabilities. My house burned down to an unrecoverable state last Thursday. Red Cross gave me & my family a letter to give HPD about it. They were supposed to help us get permanent housing and our Senators here are helping to bring that about, Sen. Savino and Sen. Watson.

There were four families sent to HPD with us. We were all supposed to be expedited into permanent housing. I have SSI and NYCHA Section 8 from the house that burned down. HPD had been supposed to waive req. for id forms of usual because we had them in the house.

HPD (NYC) demanded the same forms of id as for any other situation – which we had gotten from the computer at the hotel for the SSI award letter and all the docs we could find online. HPD kept all of us waiting for over three hours with all our children in tow in a very small noisy waiting room, then told my family that we were to go to the family shelter, as they told the other four families whose homes burned next to ours.

I said that wouldn’t work for me because of my disabilities, brain injury and PTSD from domestic violence. I said that it was already too much overwhelming information, they had us come from Staten Island to the HPD office in person, wait with my daughters and grandchildren over 3 hrs, added more stress and difficulty already and I couldn’t afford to be in another place that I don’t know, don’t understand with so many people and things I would not be able to understand and that I didn’t want to end up like a retarded person drooling on myself because my brain would shut down with that much more stress.

He asked me if I had proof of my disability (insisted several times, not just once) and denied that he had proof despite the fact he had written down that I have SSI for my disability and a Section 8 Voucher to have a place to live because of these disabilities not allowing me to do better for myself yet.

I don’t understand, am I supposed to have a disability tattoo, a disability set of papers like a thoroughbred dog gets to prove l have rights to services and accommodation as a disabled person, even though SSI is obvious proof that I have a disability. HPD works with domestic violence survivors (often with children and young children) and people displaced by fire or flood for expedited fair housing appropriate to their unique and particularly specific needs. Is this how they are treating everyone in our most vulnerable populations when they are most stressed out, most emotionally distraught and while they are undergoing some of the most massive and unexpected difficulties in their lives – and in mine. I’ve lost everything.

My family has lost everything. The other families who came in about an hour after we did, but are our neighbors, lost everything, or very nearly everything. Why would this man who was supposed to be helping me, ask me for proof of a verified, way more than well certified disability and then deny me and my family any option of permanent housing of any kind PLUS demand I show proof of my disability as if it is required of me?

And I said he could look it up, that I was willing to give my permission for him to see my entire case file at SSI, if that would help him to decide whether I have disabilities or not and he said he couldn’t do that. Oh yes he can. I could’ve signed a form and he could’ve looked it up through SEction 8 which HPD is directly connected to or called SSI to confirm it, after I signed such a paper although getting SSI is a pretty good proof all by itself. I was shocked and hurt and offended and disgusted that he probably does this to all the disabled people, elderly & survivors of domestic violence he and the HPD ofc is supposed to be helping.

Please fix this. They can’t do this to people. I didn’t deserve it and they don’t either. We did not go to the shelter. I don’t want to be in a mental hospital because even one more drop of difficulty is added to this already impossible, emotionally devastating situation

08-23-2016 US Dept of Justice ADA Complaint Form – CricketDiane, Diane C. Phillips 2016.