Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center
Should Facilities For Mentally Retarded Persons Be Allowed In Neighborhoods?
Opening a group home for mentally disabled individuals within family neighborhoods may cause significant controversy between the organization trying to establish housing for its potential residents, and the existing neighbors.
The right to establish group homes within residential areas of a city or town is protected under the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968. This act provides greater access to housing for the disabled, and protects against discriminatory practices. Further, a group home can be viewed no differently than any other person's home. As a result, a city cannot stipulate that a group home not be located in any area deemed "residential."
Residents in neighborhoods where group homes try to locate may become alarmed by the prospect of mentally retarded persons living in their midst. In some cases, neighbors fear that the group home may lack adequate supervision for its residents. Some cite fear for the safety of the children in the neighborhood. Others believe residents suffering from psychiatric problems should be barred from group homes. Even others cite the potential effect these group homes might have on their property value.
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