The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against the Village of Hinsdale, Illinois, alleging disability discrimination in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleges that Hinsdale has discriminated and continues to discriminate by prohibiting group homes for persons with disabilities from operating in single-family residential districts, and by failing to provide reasonable accommodations to its zoning code for such homes. The case arose when Hinsdale prohibited a group home for persons with disabilities in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction to operate and refused to consider the home’s request for an accommodation.
“Denying people access to housing because of their disabilities is not just wrong. It’s illegal,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “The Fair Housing Act prohibits local governments from applying their zoning laws in a manner that discriminates against persons with disabilities. The Fair Housing Act also prohibits this kind of ‘not in my backyard’ attitude towards individuals with disabilities. The Civil Rights Division will continue to enforce the Fair Housing Act vigorously so that municipalities do not erect illegal barriers that preclude group homes for residents with disabilities from operating in single-family neighborhoods.”
“Access to housing free from discrimination is a right afforded to all Americans under the Fair Housing Act,” said U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch, Jr. of the Northern District of Illinois. “This lawsuit is an example of the Department’s continuing effort to enforce anti-discrimination laws that protect those rights.”
The department’s lawsuit seeks a court order prohibiting Hinsdale from discriminating against the home at issue in this case or other group homes for persons with disabilities. The lawsuit also seeks monetary damages for persons harmed by Hinsdale’s actions, as well as payment of a civil penalty.
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the civil rights laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt. Individuals who believe that they have been victims of housing discrimination may call the Justice Department at 1-800-896-7743, email the Justice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, or submit a report online at civilrights.justice.gov.
The complaint contains allegations of unlawful conduct. The allegations in the complaint must be proven in court.