SE Texas Record

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Justice Department settles with Beaumont over alleged disability discrimination

By Mark Landolo | May 17, 2016

BEAUMONT, Texas (Legal Newsline) – The Justice Department announced a settlement with the city of Beaumont, Texas, for $475,000 over allegations the city discriminated against persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities trying to live in small group homes in residential districts. The city has also agreed to make changes to its zoning and land use practices.

“Persons with disabilities have the same right to live in and enjoy their communities as all other families do throughout our nation,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division, said. “The Justice Department will continue to eliminate discriminatory barriers that impede these individuals from doing so.”

According to the lawsuit, the city committed a violation of the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act by imposing a one-half mile spacing rule that effectively barred many small group homes in the area from operating.

“I applaud the parties for reaching this common-sense, fair agreement,” U.S. Attorney John M. Bales of the Eastern District of Texas said. “Beaumont is a great city in which to live and the prior restrictions now being set aside were inconsistent with that greatness. Now everyone can reside where they wish in an environment that is best for their lives.”

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