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What is Senior Housing?

As a housing provider, the Fair Housing Act (FHAct) protects all citizens from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, handicap or familial status (families with children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians; pregnant women and people securing custody of children under 18).

Senior Housing Exemption

Although the FHAct was amended in 1988 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability and familial status, Congress intended to preserve housing specifically designed to meet the needs of older persons. Such housing that meets the FHAct definition of "housing for older persons" is exempt from the law's familial status requirements, provided that:

  • HUD has determined that the dwelling is specifically designed for and occupied by elderly persons under a Federal, State or local government program and
    • It is occupied solely by persons who are 62 or older or
    • It houses at least one person who is 55 or older in at least 80 percent of the occupied units, and adheres to a policy that demonstrates intent to house persons who are 55 or older.

Therefore, housing that satisfies the legal definition of senior housing or housing for older persons described above, can legally exclude families with children.

The Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 (HOPA)

HOPA eliminated initial requirements for "significant services and facilities" within designated senior housing units or areas.

Arkansas Fair Housing Commission

Carol Johnson, Director

101 E. Capitol Avenue, Suite 212
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
(501) 682-3247 · (800) 340-9108
(501) 682-3271 Fax

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