Quarterly Updates from DRC - December 2023

Sunflower background with blue text reading 'Updated from DRC'

2023 Impact

DRC's attorneys and advocates did some great work during Federal Fiscal Year 2023. We are proud to have had the opportunity to provide 2,048 services to 1,849 Kansans with disabilities, a greater than 15% increase from the prior year. Check out some stories about Kansans we were able to help out below. *Names and some identifying details have been changed to protect the confidentiality of our clients.

Enforcing Fair Housing Rights

Woman with emotional support animal (cat) in her lap

Tammy is a Kansan with the lived experiences of bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety disorder. Tammy was forced to suffer with deplorable living conditions in her housing, including the presence of dust mites and dead roaches throughout the apartment - even in the refrigerator and stove. In response to these conditions, Tammy took proactive steps by filing a complaint with her city, citing numerous housing code violations. City inspectors, upon investigation, identified the violations and notified the landlord to rectify them.

However, instead of addressing the issues, the landlord retaliated by filing a court petition to evict Tammy, specifically citing her emotional support cats as a reason. This is even though emotional support animals may be allowed under the federal Fair Housing rights. Undeterred, Tammy filed a fair housing complaint with her local Human Relations Commission (HRC). The HRC conducted an investigation and found probable cause against the landlord and property management company for disability discrimination and retaliation.

Recognizing the need for legal support beyond the HRC's limitations, the HRC reached out to DRC, requesting assistance for Tammy to pursue further legal action. A DRC attorney took on the case, filing a federal lawsuit under the Fair Housing Act. The attorney represented Tammy in mediation, ultimately securing a settlement of $27,500 to compensate her for the violations of her fair housing rights. DRC is committed to ensuring Kansans with disabilities, like Tammy, have their housing rights upheld.

Free Appropriate Public Education

Highschool student who uses a wheelchair in the library with her mother.

Sarah contacted DRC when her daughter Courtney, a high-school student who uses a wheelchair, faced bullying and verbal harassment. Courtney was also initially denied participation in extracurricular activities due to transportation issues. Although Courtney was later informed by the school that she could participate in extracurriculars, Courtney had to find her own transportation to away activities. When Courtney became a target for bullying due to not riding the bus like the other students, Sarah sought help from DRC's Disability & Aging Crime Victims Unit (DACVU) team. After consulting with a DACVU attorney, Sarah and Courtney learned about student's rights under Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

Through multiple discussions with the school's attorney and the Special Education Department, DRC’s DACVU team successfully secured transportation for all current and future activities for Courtney. The attorney also negotiated reimbursement for Sarah's expenses related to transporting Courtney to away activities. Moreover, the Special Education Department conducted training for the Extracurricular Department to prevent future instances of denying transportation based on disability. Sarah and Courtney expressed gratitude for the positive outcome, saying it wouldn't have been possible without the involvement of DRC's DACVU team.

Learn More About DRC's DACVU Team

Advocacy Priorities 

Chart: 14% Fair Housing, 12% Community Services & Healthcare, 12% Employment, 8% Special Education, 5% Abuse, Neglect & Exploitation, 7% Accountability of Guardians and other Legal Decision Makers, 5% Community Integration, 5% Accessibility, 32% Crime Victims Served by DRC's Disability & Aging Crimes Victims Unit (DACVU)

DRC served clients within the Priority areas listed to the right. We list the percentage of services provided for each issue area or program. Our priorities are chosen with the consideration of feedback we receive from disability community members like YOU! This year, we recieved 1,007 responses to our annual public feedback survey. Thank you for your participation. Make sure you are subscribed to our email list to receive next year's survey!


DRC is Here to Help!

DRC advocate and client side-hugging and smiling at the camera.

DRC has attorneys and advocates who provide free advocacy and legal services for disability rights. We help with many different disability rights issues. Our Disability & Aging Crime Victims Unit (DACVU) helps both Kansans with disabilities or Kansas seniors who have been victims of crime. Need assistance? Contact us today.

Get Help

More Resources

DRC advocate presenting at the 2022 Kansas Disability Caucus conference.

Have you visited the Resource Center on DRC's website? The Resource Center has lots of information and tools to advocate for your disability rights. There is information on topics like Assistive Technology, Special Education, Employment, Alternatives to Guardianship, Social Security, and more. 

Check Out the Resource Center

Quarterly Updates from DRC - December 2023