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Senior housing complexes in Allegheny County must improve access for people with disabilities

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Sarah Kovash
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90.5 WESA

A multi-state settlement over Fair Housing Act violations will require a developer to improve access for people with disabilities at 50 senior apartment buildings, including several in Allegheny County and southwestern Pennsylvania.

The Fair Housing Partnership of Greater Pittsburgh and other fair housing groups in six states announced the settlement Monday.

“Pennsylvania’s aged housing stock heightens our need for compliance with housing accessibility laws to ensure that disabled Pennsylvanians can not only live in but also enjoy their home. As a result of this agreement, hundreds of units within eight Clover senior properties distributed throughout western and northeastern Pennsylvania will be made accessible,” the Fair Housing Partnership’s executive director, Megan Confer-Hammond, said in a statement Monday.

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The settlement requires developer and property manager Clover Group to make retrofits to common areas of the properties to improve accessibility for people with disabilities, such as adding ramps and replacing sidewalks with “excessive slopes.” The company must also make unit modifications in individual apartments for people who use wheelchairs or who have other mobility limitations, such as adding grab bars, installing roll-in showers, and lowering countertops.

The fair housing groups had filed federal litigation over the issue earlier this year; this settlement ends part of the litigation, which involves two separate lawsuits.

The settlement will impact Bethel Square Senior Apartments in Bethel Park; Lafayette Square Senior Apartments in Oakdale; Cedar Ridge Senior Apartments in Crafton; as well as Towne Square Senior Apartments in Westmoreland County, and Beaver Run Senior Apartments in Beaver County.

Clover Group, based outside of Buffalo, could not be reached for comment.

Kate Giammarise focuses her reporting on poverty, social services and affordable housing. Before joining WESA, she covered those topics for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for nearly five years; prior to that, she spent several years in the paper’s Harrisburg bureau covering the legislature, governor and state government. She can be reached at kgiammarise@wesa.fm or 412-697-2953.