WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against Dalton Township, Mich., alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, charges that the township discriminated against persons with disabilities based on its treatment of a group home for persons recovering from drug and alcohol addiction and its failure to grant a reasonable accommodation or modification to the owner of the group home.
This lawsuit arose as a result of a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by Joel Kruszynski Sr., who, through Cedar Creek Investments Inc., and Serenity Shores Apartments LLC, owns and operates a group home known as "Serenity Shores."
The suit seeks a court order prohibiting future discrimination by the township and requiring the township to make a reasonable accommodation to permit the continued operation of Serenity Shores as a sober home for eight individuals and a resident manager. It also seeks payment of monetary damages to compensate victims and a civil penalty.
"The Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act seek to ensure that individuals with disabilities can live in communities of their choice without facing discrimination," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. "We will continue our vigorous enforcement efforts to make certain that persons with disabilities are granted their rights under federal law."
"Under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, persons with disabilities have the right to reside in communities and housing of their choice," said John Trasviña, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity. "HUD will take legal actions to ensure that they can live in the most integrated setting."
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex familial status, national origin and disability. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that State and local governments give people with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from all of their programs, services and activities. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.usdoj.gov/crt. Individuals who believe that they have been victims of housing discrimination or have information related to this lawsuit can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, e-mail the Justice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777.
The complaint is an allegation of unlawful conduct. The allegations must still be proven in federal court.