Monday, November 13, 2006

Homeless shelter violates Fair Housing Act

A homeless shelter in Boise, Idaho, violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to admit women and families, a federal appeal court has ruled.

The River of Life shelter, operated by the Boise Rescue Mission, serves only men. Another shelter, City Light Home, serves women and families. Men staying at the River of Life shelter are required to attend evening religious service daily.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the City of Boise, which leases the River of Life building to the Rescue Mission, is discriminating against women and families and creating a state-sponsored religion.

Read the court decision here.


At 8:44 AM, Blogger G. Brandon Hoyt said...

So let me see if I've got this right:
Having a mandatory church service at a state owned but not state run homeless shelter establishes religion?
Boy am I glad I don't take state money!!
FWIW: I believe in mandatory attendance to some functions because I believe that the lack of expectation, and the expectation of poor behavior demeans the homeless, and makes them more suseceptable to devaluation, depression, and condescesion. You'll have to forgive my spelling on that!
I'm really not sure how to feel about the decision, I mean, it seems like the shelter was looking to do some things that were poorly planned, yet at the same time, having been on "the cutting edge" of the battle against homelessness myself, I think I partly understand what they were doing. Demographically, I see a lot of men, and very few families. The closest thing to a family I usually see are single people cohabitating outside. Occassionally I'll see a for real Married Couple (see Rafi's post on the BASIC Blog from August:
for information about one family)
perhaps a better strategy would have been for the shelter to open and find a place for families before moving the men to the new old place...
I don't know.
I do know a lot of money is now being wasted in court that won't make it to the people who need it.
How much should "justice" cost?

At 12:46 PM, Blogger G. Brandon Hoyt said...

Orlando gives the homeless Justice again!
see my posts today.

At 4:47 AM, Blogger Anonymous Law Student said...

I applaud the ruling. I'm glad that the shelter wants to help the homeless, but the State should never associate itself with mandatory religion and discrimination.

At 5:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post is not accurate. The Ninth Circuit did not rule that the homeless shelter violated the Fair Housing Act. The homeless shelter in question in this case, which is operated by the Boise Rescue Mission, continues to operate as it did prior to the Ninth Circuit ruling. In an unrelated case, the federal court in Idaho affirmatively concluded that the Boise Rescue Mission is not subject to the Fair Housing Act and, further, that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act bars the application of the Fair Housing Act to prohibit the religous services offered by the Boise Rescue Mission.


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