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Feds file suit against town of Garner

Posted May 19, 2009

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— The U.S. Justice Department filed a discrimination suit against the town of Garner and the board of adjustment there Tuesday, alleging the town unfairly limited the number of residents in a group home for those recovering from addiction.

Oxford House Inc. filed the complaint under the terms of the Fair Housing Act after the town refused to consider a request to expand a residential treatment program from six to eight participants. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development investigated the claim and referred the case to the Justice Department, which filed suit in U.S. District Court in Raleigh.

Oxford House is, according to an official Web site, "a clean and sober housing option for individuals in recovery."  There are 129 Oxford houses in 28 cities statewide.

"Enforcement of Fair Housing laws prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities is a priority of the U.S. Attorney in Eastern North Carolina," U.S. Attorney George Holding said.

The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability. The suit alleges that Garner failed to allow a reasonable accommodation to the residents, whose addiction qualifies as a disability.

If the Justice Department proves the case in federal court, the town could be forced to grant the expansion request and to pay damages to victims of discrimination, according to a news release about the suit.

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  • colliedave May 19, 2009

    This is not a free ride. The residents pay rent. They are required to work.

    It doesn't matter that they work, it is about the covenants limiting the number of unrelated individuals allowed to live in the same house. The same would apply if a frat house wanted to increase the number of its residents.

  • didisaythat May 19, 2009

    How is it descrimination for not making more beds...If they didn't allow a person in because of a situation and they had room then I can see a lawsuit, but it sounds like they are forcing the company to expand. I must be ignorant on this matter.

  • superman May 19, 2009

    Is he the same mayor that wanted to pick the location for the new school in Garner? Changing the number from 6 to 8 doesnt sound excessive to me!

  • expat in Brazil May 19, 2009

    I think Mike and Mary Easley have an addiction to high paying jobs and plane rides. Could they be the two new residents?

  • blackdog May 19, 2009

    Just because you decide to get in a car and drive, and happen to have a wreck, why should I stop and help you ? You were the one who decided to drive. Stop helping people in trouble. Helping others is like some kind of Christian compassion thing...

  • clickclackity2 May 19, 2009

    You people are something else.

  • Rocknhorse May 19, 2009

    Don't know if there is more than one home in Garner, but there is one such home adjacent to a ball facility in Garner. I was literally stopped by a man standing in the middle of the street with this hands up, preventing me from pulling onto the street where my son had ball practice. He motioned for me to roll my window down. He told me he lived at the halfway house and he asked for money "to buy pizza." Now, perhaps he really did want pizza, but I doubt it. In any case, it didn't give me any warm fuzzies that an area where my kids play ball is that accessable to these people. I know there have been problems with various residents carousing the ball fields begging for handouts.

    I believe that recovering addicts need a safe place to recover. But I think that perhaps the facility should not be that close to a child-oriented organization.

  • Smorgas_Of_Borg May 19, 2009

    Wonderful sentiments! Let's see, I'm a recovering alcoholic. Many of those I know who are also in recovery from alcohol and drugs opted to make use of the 'halfway houses' in the area.

    Most all cite their time there as imporant as their time in rehab.

    So, why not follow your non-expert advice and just let them leave their ten days to five weeks of rehab with NO means of working their way back into society as productive, sober citizens?

    I mean, after all, as you have noted, they're 'addicts' and we should just toss them aside for the failures they are, right?

    Want to reduce crime? Try reducing the number of those who are addicts.

    Then again, you can just call out, "Thank God for the Second Amendment!"

    Or something like that.

  • colliedave May 19, 2009

    What happens if those that run the home want to double those in the home? The City of Garner allows such homes, they just limit its occupancy. Most cities limit how many unrelated people can live in a single family home. Hope the City can take the issue to a higher court

  • Tax Man May 19, 2009

    Garner should pass an ordinance prohibiting these types of homes within city limits on the basis of them being a "public nuisance". Garner has the right to keep these people out of its city limits.

    How about a trade - reduce the free & reduced lunch program by 5,000 kids for each person one of these homes wants to add - seems like a fair trade.

    I would not want one of these homes in my neighborhood and I should have the right to prevent that! These homes should be in rural areas of the county where these "recovering criminals" can do no harm to the neighbors while going through rehab - once they have been "clean" and free of any criminal charges for 5 years then they should be allowed to have their rights restored and return to normal society, but not before.

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