ECBAWM Files Housing Discrimination Lawsuit Against Volunteers of America, Large Supportive Housing Provider

  • October 20, 2023

On October 19, 2023, ECBAWM filed a lawsuit on behalf of client A.C. against Volunteers of America – Greater New York (“VOA”), one of the largest nonprofit developers and providers of permanent supportive housing in the metro New York area. The complaint alleges that A.C., a transgender man who lived in one of VOA’s supportive housing facilities for approximately five years, endured harassment and discrimination both from other residents, who threatened and verbally attacked him because of his gender, and from VOA staff members, who failed to stop the harassment and repeatedly misgendered him. VOA permitted this hostile environment to persist for years despite A.C.’s repeated pleas for help. VOA also denied A.C.’s requests to transfer to a different housing facility as a reasonable accommodation for disability when his mental health worsened due to the hostile living environment, effectively forcing him to choose between suffering severe psychological and emotional damage and becoming homeless. The complaint alleges that VOA’s actions violate the New York City Human Rights Law, which prohibits discrimination based on gender, including gender identity and gender expression, and disability.

ECBAWM attorneys Diane L. Houk and Emily Wanger represent A.C., along with Julian Castronovo from Brooklyn Legal Services NYC.