ILNews

Co-op discriminated against disabled renter, suit claims

Dave Stafford
February 8, 2016
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A daughter and care provider for her quadriplegic mother who was denied housing at a south side Indianapolis housing cooperative has sued in federal court, claiming the apartment management violated state and federal housing and anti-discrimination laws.

Sharna McFarland claims she was sent a letter urging her to attend a mandatory new member orientation last August after she applied to rent an apartment at Grandville Cooperative. After she met with board members at the orientation session and informed them of her mother’s disability, she received a rejection letter stating “Grandview Cooperative is not handicap accessible and it will be a liability to offer you a unit that is not accommodating to everyone in the household.”

The lawsuit filed Thursday notes Grandville is a 156-unit complex that was built and developed as affordable housing for lower-income tenants, and that its property management company, Kirkpatrick Management Co. Inc., is among the largest in Indianapolis and has a portfolio of more than 10,000 apartments.

The suit was filed on behalf of the family by the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana Inc. and Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services. It seeks actual and punitive damages, declaratory judgments that defendants violated the federal Fair Housing Act and the Indiana Fair Housing Act, and legal fees.

“Disability has been a federally protected class since 1988, but we still see examples of housing discrimination daily,” said Amy Nelson, executive director of the FHCCI. “Persons with disabilities must have housing options available to them similar to those without disabilities, including access to housing of their choice.”

The center said in a statement it investigated the family’s claims and found evidence of discrimination due to disability in violation of fair housing laws.

“This case outlines Kirkpatrick’s blatant disregard for the law and it is a clear violation of the Fair Housing Act. An established management company of this size should be knowledgeable and in compliance with the law,” IPAS Executive Director Dawn Adams said in a statement. “All people with disabilities have the right to choose where they want to live and Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services will continue to protect this right.”

The suit was filed before Judge Sarah Evans Barker in the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. The case is Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana Inc., Virginia Morton and Sharna McFarland v. Grandville Cooperative Inc., Karen Mitchell and Kirkpatrick Management Inc., 1:16-CV-300.
 

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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