Excerpt from: The United States Department of Justice (click for more information)
The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against the city of San Jacinto, Calif., alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act based on its treatment of group homes for persons with disabilities. This lawsuit is part of the Justice Department’s continuing effort to enforce civil rights laws that require states and municipalities to end discrimination against, and unnecessary segregation of, persons with disabilities.
The lawsuit, filed on Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that the city has impermissibly restricted the ability of group homes for people with disabilities to operate within the city. Under the city’s zoning code, group homes that are not required to be licensed by the state, as well as some licensed homes, are not permitted uses in any zoning district within the city, and their ability to operate in multi-family zones is restricted. The United States’ lawsuit further alleges that the city targeted housing for persons with disabilities for enforcement actions, including a November 2008 sweep in which city and county officials, including armed and uniformed police officers and sheriff’s deputies, appeared at homes unannounced and interrogated residents with disabilities from a prepared questionnaire that included intrusive questions targeted to persons with mental disabilities. The complaint also alleges that the city has conditioned the grant of reasonable accommodations on the adoption of unwarranted limitations on the residents of homes for persons with disabilities.