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Advancing the Human & Civil Rights of People with Disabilities in Illinois


Equip for Equality files brief in opposition to zoning ordinance in Springfield that discriminates against people with disabilities.

On December 21, 2017, Equip for Equality filed a brief with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opposing a discriminatory zoning ordinance in Springfield that limits the housing options for people with disabilities.  In the brief, Equip for Equality argues that the ordinance is contrary to the ADA, the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead and the Ligas consent decree.  Access Living and the ACLU of Illinois signed onto the brief.

The City of Springfield sought to evict three people with intellectual and other disabilities from their home under a city zoning ordinance.  The ordinance puts spacing restrictions on three unrelated people with disabilities that are not placed on three unrelated people without disabilities. This is a classic example of a municipality taking a “Not in My Backyard” approach with respect to people with disabilities living in their community.

One of the residents of the home is J.D., a young man with cerebral palsy who uses a wheelchair for mobility.  J.D. is also a Ligas class member.  Since March of 2014, J.D. has lived peacefully and happily with two other men in an attractive home on Noble Street, a typical residential street in Springfield, Illinois. He rents the home from private landlords who made the home physically accessible for him.  Under the Ligas consent decree, J.D. moved to Noble Street after living at Brother James Court, a privately-run, Medicaid-funded facility that houses 95 men. There, he shared a room with three men and had no privacy. At Noble Street, J.D. has his own room.

Equip for Equality is hopeful the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals will find that the actions of the City of Springfield are discriminatory and will order that J.D. and his roommates be allowed to remain in their home.

Click here to read the full brief: Valencia v. City of Springfield

Click here for the accessible version: Valencia v City of Springfield – Accessible

Click here to read the State Journal-Register article on the two lawsuits filed against the City of Springfield.


Last updated: January 02, 2018

This website is made possible by funding support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, both the Administration on Developmental Disabilities and the Center for Mental Health Services of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and the U.S. Department of Education, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. The contents of this website are solely the responsibility of Equip for Equality and do not necessarily represent the official view of any of these agencies.

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