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Group home gets pass from judge

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Posted: Jul 29, 2011 6:17 PM by Rob Krieger
Updated: Jul 29, 2011 6:43 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: baton rouge, federal, court, trial, injunction, group, home, alcoholic, wbrz, louisiana

BATON ROUGE- A federal judge issued a temporary injunction preventing the eviction of more than a dozen women from two group homes.

The homes, operated by the Oxford House, are meant to offer a stable environment to recovering substances abusers. But the parish attorney's office says the two homes violate single family zoning laws because up to nine women live in each home.

Attorneys for the homes claim the women are recovering alcoholics, therefore they're classified as disabled and covered under the Fair Housing Act.

"If that's all it takes to be disabled and it's already a reasonable accommodation to set up a home of 8-12 people in a single family residential neighborhood, it's gonna gut single family zoning for this city and this parish," said Joseph Scott, Assisstant Parish Attorney in East Baton Rouge.

Scott says the ruling did, however, show that there should be some sort of individual assessment of each occupant to ensure they're legitimately disabled.

"Approximately 99 percent of the residents in these two house came from a substance abuse rehabilitation center, I find it difficult to believe that someone would fake alcoholism or drug addiction just to live in the oxford house," said Steven Polin, attorney for Oxford House.

The case goes before a federal judge again in October.

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