City Sued For Housing Discrimination
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 28, 2002
PAYETTE, IDAHO--The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) last week filed a lawsuit against the City of Payette claiming it violated the federal Fair Housing Act by discriminating against people with disabilities.
The Department claims the violation occurred when the city refused to allow a group home to be opened in a residential neighborhood because the home's future residents would be recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. Under the Fair Housing Act, individuals recovering from such addictions are considered to be people with disabilities, so long as they are no longer using drugs.
The lawsuit came after the prospective operators of the home filed a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The case was then referred to the Justice Department following an investigation.
The DOJ is seeking a court order in U.S. District Court in Boise, which would require the city to allow the home to open in the neighborhood as planned. The Department is also asking for damages to be paid to those people whose rights had been violated and to pay civil penalties.