Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Student Note on the Fair Housing Act and Integration in the Community

Just out: Glenna Riley, Note, The Pursuit of Integrated Living: The Fair Housing Act as a Sword for Mentally Disabled Adults Residing in Group Homes, 45 Colum. J.L. & Soc. Probs. 177 (2011).  The abstract:
Today, many state-licensed group homes for mentally disabled adults have come to resemble their predecessor psychiatric institutions in that they segregate residents from the community at large. In 2010, a court found that private group homes in New York discriminated against the mentally disabled in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The court ordered the state to establish non-discriminatory housing alternatives where residents could live, and become part of, the community at large. This groundbreaking litigation has prompted similar efforts in other states. In addition to the ADA, the Fair Housing Act (FHA) also protects the mentally disabled from discrimination arising from segregated housing. This Note examines whether the FHA supports a discrimination claim on behalf of the mentally disabled residing in segregated group homes. The differences between the ADA and FHA approaches are analyzed in terms of standing, defenses, and remedies, in order to determine whether a FHA claim increases the chances of successful litigation, in turn furthering the underlying policy goal of ending discrimination in housing.

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