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Housing Quotas for People with Disabilities: Legislating Exclusion

35 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2012  

Daniel R. Mandelker

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

Date Written: February, 15 2012

Abstract

The transfer of people with disabilities from state institutions to residential housing is one of the great migrations in recent history, but finding adequate housing is difficult. Laws that enact housing quotas make this task even harder. Quotas can require a minimum distance between group homes, limit the number of group homes that can be allowed in a community, or limit the number of apartments in multifamily projects. This article considers the legality of these quotas under the federal Fair Housing Act, and their constitutionality as an equal protection violation.

Part I describes the universe of housing models available for people with disabilities. Part II examines the problem of clustering that occurs when this housing locates in groups. Part III describes state statutes that require a minimum distance between group homes for people with disabilities, and federal housing subsidy legislation that contains quotas and preferences. It criticizes the dispersion strategy for housing that quotas implicitly require. Part IV considers the constitutionality of housing quotas under the equal protection clause of the federal constitution.

Part V considers the legality of quotas under the federal Fair Housing Act, which makes it a violation to “otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any buyer or renter because of a handicap." Part VI discusses more acceptable models for distributing housing opportunities.

Keywords: disability, housing, Fair Housing Act, equal protection, zoning

Suggested Citation

Mandelker, Daniel R., Housing Quotas for People with Disabilities: Legislating Exclusion (February, 15 2012). Urban Lawyer, Vol. 43, No. 4, p. 915, 2011; Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-02-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2005973

Daniel R. Mandelker (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

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