Disabled Texas woman dies before her complaint against an Austin apartment complex is settled

Geneva Bowie moved out of Cameron Springs Apartments in Austin, Texas after allegedly being denied services and access to facilities because she was disabled. She died a year before her complaint against the apartment complex was resolved.

The Austin Tenants' Council (ATC) investigated allegations of racial discrimination against C.G. Richter, the manager of Cameron Springs. During the investigation, ATC uncovered evidence that indicated Bowie had been mistreated at Cameron Springs because of her disability. At the time of ATC's investigation, Bowie had several severe health problems and claimed that Richter had mistreated her because she was African-American. She had moved into inadequate, substandard housing to escape the alleged maltreatment by Richter.

Bowie felt that her rights under the Fair Housing Act had been violated. She filed a complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through ATC's Fair Housing Enforcement Program .

According to ATC, Richter allegedly refused to maintain handicapped accessible parking. He also allegedly refused to allow Bowie's son to move in so that he could take care of her. Bowie's health problems, including diabetes and kidney dysfunction, required her to make three trips weekly for medical treatment. In addition, Bowie could not access the management office to conduct tenant business or pay rent. The office was on the second floor and was only accessible by stairs.

Geneva Bowie died of kidney failure on April 19, 1995. Her children, led by daughter Barbara Stewart and represented by attorney Brian East, continued her complaint as heirs. The ATC filed an additional complaint against C.G. Richter alleging his actions resulted in the frustration of the agency's mission to ensure safe, decent fair housing for all.

After investigations by the ATC, HUD, and the Texas Commission of Human Rights, Kailua Village Investments, the owners of Cameron Springs, agreed to pay $10,500 to all parties. They consented to provide permanent handicapped parking and an intercom at the management office for access by persons with disabilities and to have Richter and his management staff trained by ATC in the requirements of the Fair Housing Act.