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U.S. Justice Department & IAG Prevail in Suit Against Springfield's Discriminatory Housing Practices

On July 26, 2022, following a two-day trial, a federal jury awarded $293,000 in damages against the City of Springfield, Illinois, for attempting to close a group home for people with developmental disabilities.

In 2014, three residents with intellectual and physical disabilities moved into a single- family home on Noble Avenue in Springfield, Illinois, where they received community residential services from a state-licensed provider, Individual Advocacy Group (IAG). Such arrangements, known as Community Integrated Living Arrangements (CILAs), permit residents with disabilities to live in an integrated community setting rather than an institution. Even though the home was operating in compliance with state requirements, the City attempted to shut it down in 2016. The City relied on a local spacing ordinance that prohibited two homes for individuals with disabilities from operating within 600 feet of one another.

The United States filed suit against the City of Springfield in 2017. In 2020, the Court ruled that the City had violated the Fair Housing Act by enforcing the spacing ordinance against the home, granting the United States’ and IAG’s motions for summary judgment on liability. This week’s jury trial was to determine what damages should be awarded for any harm caused by the City’s conduct. The jury determined that the City should pay a total of $293,000: $162,000 in compensatory damages to the residents of the home and their guardians and $131,000 in compensatory damages to IAG.

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