City Settles Lawsuit Over Group Home Locations
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 14, 2006
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN--The City of Milwaukee has agreed to settle a federal housing discrimination lawsuit and pay $194,000 to the operators of group homes that had filed the suit, the Journal Sentinel reported.
Earlier this year, city officials agreed to drop a three-decades old rule that required operators of group homes for people with disabilities to seek special approval before locating within 2,500 feet, or about one-half mile, from existing licensed community facilities.
Owners of group homes and community advocates had protested the old zoning rule, arguing that the restriction violated residents' rights under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and federal housing laws.
The change only affects homes with eight or fewer residents that have physical or developmental disabilities. Larger homes, and those housing people involved in illegal drug use or chemical addition, will still need to seek an exemption.
Advocates are now urging state lawmakers to change Wisconsin law to be consistent with federal law.
The shift in recent years from institutions to community residential programs has meant that nearly 200 such homes are scattered across Milwaukee County.
"Group homes lawsuit settled" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)