On April 18th, 2023, Kennedy Hunt P.C. filed a complaint against Kansas City, Missouri for discrimination based on disability in violation of the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The lawsuit alleges Kansas City discriminated against our clients – New Beginning Sanctuary, Jaam Properties, LLC, and Alon Fisch – based on disability. According to the lawsuit, the City prohibited our clients from operating a 10-resident home with residents in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.
The lawsuit claims our clients requested a reasonable accommodation for two homes operated by New Beginning Sanctuary. The City granted accommodation for one home in February. The lawsuit states that following opposition from neighbors and the local school district who opposed the recovery home, the City denied Plaintiffs’ request for a reasonable accommodation and violated the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The lawsuit states this opposition primarily took the form of fears based on stereotypes of individuals with substance use disorder and unsubstantiated claims of property devaluation and safety concerns.
Additionally, the lawsuit alleges our clients and the residents of the recovery home, who are disabled pursuant to the FHA and ADA, are at risk of eviction based on discriminatory means.
Per the lawsuit:
The City claimed the recovery home was prohibited from operating in a R-7.5 Zone, regardless of its number of residents, because it is a “halfway house” under the City’s zoning code.
The City classified the home as a halfway house because the residents who occupy the home are in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. This determination effectively precludes any supported housing for persons with the disability of substance use disorder from living in most, if not all, single-family residential districts in the City.
The City denied Plaintiffs’ request for a reasonable accommodation under the FHA and ADA following opposition from neighbors and the local school district who opposed the recovery home. Accordingly, the City discriminated based on disability, including refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation, violating the FHA, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f). Further, the City’s zoning ordinance discriminates on its face and disparately impacts disabled individuals.
The lawsuit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief for our clients, as well as damages, costs, expenses, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.
This case is ongoing. For more information, contact attorney Sarah Jane Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you or someone you know has been a victim of discrimination, our skilled attorneys at Kennedy Hunt, P.C. may be able to help you. Fill out a questionnaire so we can understand your claim.