Justice Department reaches settlement with City of Petal in disability discrimination lawsuit

PETAL, Miss. (WHLT)  – The Justice Department has reached a settlement with the City of Petal to resolve allegations of discrimination against people with metal disabilities who were trying  to live in supported housing in one of the city’s residential neighborhoods.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, alleges that the city violated the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The suit claims that the city tried to prevent three men with disabilities from living together in a rented home on the same terms as non-disabled persons.

Under the city’s zoning code, up to four unrelated persons may reside together in a home in a residential neighborhood.

The home is run by Brandi’s Hope Community Services, LLC. It’s a home that provides around-the-clock support for residents.

The agreement said that the city will pay $25,000 to Brandi’s Hope in monetary damages and $25,000 to the United States as a civil penalty.

The city will take other remedial measures, including implementing the comprehensive reasonable accommodation policy and zoning code amendments it enacted as part of the settlement.  The settlement also resolves a separate lawsuit against the city brought by Brandi’s Hope.

“Persons with disabilities have the right to live in and enjoy their communities, just as all families do throughout our nation,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, the head of the Civil Rights Division.  “The Justice Department will continue to eliminate discriminatory barriers that impede these individuals from doing so.  We commend the city of Petal for working cooperatively with the department to reach this resolution.”

 

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