City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson

Filed: April 3, 2024

Court: U.S. Supreme Court

Overview: Amicus brief alongside other disability rights organizations arguing that the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment prohibits cities from criminalizing conduct associated with being unhoused.

Excerpt: “People with disabilities face unique challenges and deep-rooted stigmas that increase their risk for homelessness. Less than 5% of housing in the United States is accessible for moderate mobility disabilities, and less than 1% is accessible for wheelchair use. Housing costs are prohibitive for many disabled people who rely on public assistance for basic costs of living—the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the United States exceeds the maximum monthly Supplemental Security Income a person can receive. Moreover, widespread housing discrimination on the basis of disability further compounds the risk of homelessness. The Ordinances’ impact on homeless people with disabilities highlights how grossly out of proportion the punishments they impose are to the severity of the offense. Simply put, criminalizing the involuntary conduct of being a homeless person without a place to sleep—in a city with no public shelters—is anathema to the decency standards of any civilized society.”

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Related Media:

A Home of One’s Own

In 2009, the state of Minnesota’s legislature implemented a moratorium on increases in licensed group homes, as a cost-savings measure. To free up capacity for those with the most significant needs, and to demonstrate ways to bolster the state’s ability to support people with disabilities in their own homes, The Arc Minnesota has been providing housing navigation services since 2009 through a Housing Access Services contract with the Minnesota Department of Human Services. To date, Housing Access Services has assisted over 2700 adults who have disabilities, with moving – many out of group homes and family homes – into homes of their own.

The Arc Minnesota is also a provider of the new Housing Stabilization Services program which was approved by the Center for Medicaid Services (CMS), administered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services and funded by a participant’s Medicaid. This is a billable housing navigation and housing sustaining service. Minnesota was the first state in the nation to implement Housing Stabilization Services.

The Arc Minnesota presents a summary of these programs as well as information about the programs’ history and impact.

View presentation slides here.

Presenters: Andrea Zuber, CEO; Ellen Baudler, Housing Services Director; Karli Harguth, Self-advocacy Associate

Community for Permanent Supported Housing et al. v. Housing Authority of the City of Dallas

State: Texas

Filed: October 9, 2019

Court: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Overview: The Arc filed an amicus brief in support of Plaintiffs’ appeal of the district court’s dismissal on ripeness grounds. The case, filed in federal district court in the Northern District of Texas in 2018, challenges the Housing Authority of the City of Dallas’s (DHA) refusal to use the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Project-Based Voucher (PBV) rent subsidy program to provide otherwise scarce affordable, independent housing opportunities for people with IDD in the community. DHA was poised to offer such PBVs—each of which would permit a single-family house to be rented at subsidized rates to several people with IDD who can live independently with appropriate supports—but then canceled its offering and has refused to offer any substitute, without any good reason. The lawsuit alleges that DHA’s actions violate the ADA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Fair Housing Act, and state law. The district court dismissed the case in April 2019 and Plaintiffs appealed to the Fifth Circuit. The amicus brief supports Plaintiffs’ request to reverse the district court’s dismissal order and let the case move forward and explains that DHA’s ongoing failure to provide access to its program (including through reasonable accommodations where necessary) deprives adults with IDD of a critical opportunity to live in the most integrated setting appropriate in the community and creates an acute risk of homelessness and institutionalization.

Excerpt: “Title II of the ADA requires public entities to administer programs in the ‘most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities,’ and Olmstead is noteworthy for its broad recognition of the rights of people with disabilities to live and receive needed services and supports in the community—as opposed to institutional settings—which has become known as the ‘integration mandate’ of the ADA. But this mandate—which also protects those who are “at risk” of institutionalization—cannot be fully realized without affordable housing opportunities in the community that are accessible to people with IDD and enable them to live outside their family homes. For many adults with IDD currently living in their family homes, opportunities that allow them to live in the community separate from their families are often preferable because these opportunities provide greater independence and autonomy. Additionally, living in the community separate from their families can be critical for adults with IDD to avoid homelessness or institutionalization when a supporting family member inevitably ages and reaches a point where she or he can no longer provide shelter or support.”

Case Documents

Amicus Brief: Community for Permanent Supported Housing et al. v. Housing Authority of the City of Dallas

Related Media

Press Release: “The Arc and Partners File Amicus Brief Challenging Discriminatory Actions of Dallas Housing Authority
Relman Colfax: “Settlement Results in More Community-Based Housing for People with Disabilities in North Texas

Position Statement: Housing

Position statement of The Arc and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities on housing.

Position Statement: Life in the Community Summary

Summary of The Arc’s position statements related to life in the community.

Priced Out

Priced Out details the lack of affordable housing for SSI recipients throughout the country.

Department of Housing and Urban Development: Information for People with Disabilities

This page from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development answers frequently asked questions regarding housing for people with disabilities.