Greensboro’s Mary’s House homeless ministry files federal lawsuit against State of NC

Mary’s House is a faith-based ministry providing shelter; transitional and permanent housing; and supportive services for women in recovery from substance abuse. On Friday, 02/17/12, Mary’s House, Inc. and eight current or former residents of its Greensboro shelter filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court, Middle District of North Carolina against the State of North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and other state agencies and officials, alleging discrimination in the implementation, operation, and oversight of the federal Emergency Shelter Grants Program.

From a press release dated 02/27/2012:

Mary’s House owns and operates a shelter and transitional living facility on Guilford Avenue in Greensboro. The Mary’s House shelter provides housing and services to homeless women recovering from substance abuse and their children. Between 2005 and 2010, Mary’s House applied for and received federal Emergency Shelter Grants Program funds from the State. In 2010 and again in 2011, however, the State denied Mary’s House’s application for Emergency Shelter Grants funds.

The lawsuit asserts the State’s decision to stop funding Mary’s House is discriminatory and illegal under federal law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Fair Housing Act, all of which prohibit the State from denying federal funds, housing, or services on the basis of disability. It alleges the State has targeted one disability – recovery from substance abuse – and has decided that shelters that serve homeless persons who have that particular disability are ineligible to apply for federal funds. The lawsuit also alleges that the State’s decision violates the Constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. Mary’s House and its residents are asking the Federal District Court to award them damages and to prohibit the State from continuing to deny funding to Mary’s House because of the disability of the Mary’s House residents.

>> Read Press Release, 02/27/2012
>> Read Lawsuit, filed 02/17/2012