FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SUES CITY OF PAYETTE, IDAHO FOR ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION AGAINST GROUP HOME FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against the City of Payette, Idaho regarding alleged violations to the federal Fair Housing Act.
The suit, filed in the United States District Court in Boise, Idaho, charges the city violated federal civil rights law by refusing to allow Harbor House, a group home for persons recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, to open in a Payette residential neighborhood because of the disabilities of its future residents.
Individuals recovering from drug or alcohol addiction are considered people with disabilities under the Fair Housing Act, so long as they are not currently using drugs.
The Justice Department is seeking a court order requiring the city to allow the group home to open in the chosen neighborhood, pay damages to individuals whose rights have been violated, and pay civil penalties to deter future violations of the law.
The lawsuit arose from a complaint filed by the prospective operators of the group home with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD referred the case to the Justice Department after conducting an investigation.
Individuals who believe they may have been harmed by the city's actions in this case may call the Justice Department's Housing and Civil Enforcement Section at 800-896-7743. Additional information is available on HUD's website at www.hud.gov and the Justice Department website at www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing.