Justice Department Settles Allegations of Disability Discrimination Against St. John, Indiana

Author: U.S. Department of Justice
Published: 2009/03/18 - Updated: 2024/04/02
Publication Type: Announcement, Notification
Contents: Summary - Introduction - Main - Related

Synopsis: U.S. Justice Department announces a settlement resolving allegations that the town of St. John Ind. violated the Fair Housing Act. Local governments have the right to enforce their zoning laws, but they cannot allow their zoning decisions to be influenced by discriminatory bias.

Introduction

The Justice Department announced a settlement resolving allegations that the town of St. John, Ind., violated the Fair Housing Act when it denied a petition for a zoning variance based on the disability of a prospective resident.

Main Digest

In a lawsuit filed in September 2007, the U.S. government charged that the town of St. John intentionally discriminated against persons with disabilities when it refused to provide a St. John resident a variance to allow one unrelated individual with multiple sclerosis to live with the resident in his home.

The complaint also alleged that the requested variance was reasonable and necessary to afford prospective residents with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling in a residential neighborhood in St. John. Under the town's zoning regulations at that time, unrelated persons could not live together in a dwelling in a single-family district. After the town denied the variance, the resident filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which referred the matter to the Department of Justice.

"Local governments have the right to enforce their zoning laws, but they cannot allow their zoning decisions to be influenced by discriminatory bias," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Department will continue to vigorously enforce the rights of persons with disabilities to live in homes of their choice."

"The path to diverse, inclusive communities begins with zoning," said Bryan Greene, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "HUD works in partnership with the Department of Justice to respond to local government decisions that can sometimes exclude whole classes of persons from communities."

The settlement, which must still be approved by the court, requires the town to grant the requested variance, provide training on fair housing laws to town officials involved in making zoning and land-use decisions and provide periodic reports to the Justice Department. The town will also pay a $10,000 civil penalty to the United States.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.usdoj.gov/crt

Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line (1-800-896-7743), email the Justice Department at fairhousing@usdoj.gov, or contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777.

Attribution/Source(s):

This quality-reviewed publication titled Justice Department Settles Allegations of Disability Discrimination Against St. John, Indiana was selected for publishing by Disabled World's editors due to its relevance to the disability community. While the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or brevity, it was originally authored by U.S. Department of Justice and published 2009/03/18 (Edit Update: 2024/04/02). For further details or clarifications, you can contact U.S. Department of Justice directly at justice.gov Disabled World does not provide any warranties or endorsements related to this article.

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Cite This Page (APA): U.S. Department of Justice. (2009, March 18). Justice Department Settles Allegations of Disability Discrimination Against St. John, Indiana. Disabled World. Retrieved May 25, 2024 from www.disabled-world.com/disability/legal/justice-housing.php

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