Mar 31, 2009

City Ordinance Prohibiting Children in SRO Unit Does Not Violate the FHA

Sierra v. City of New York, 579 F.Supp.2d 543 (N.D.N.Y, 2008)
Plaintiff, mother of two children, challenged the constitutionality of a NYC Housing Maintenance Code. She brought suit under 3604(a) claiming that the law which forbids children from living in SRO’s is facially discriminatory on the basis of family status. She sought to have the ordinance declared invalid and to enjoin its future enforcement. The court held that the city code did not violate the FHA because it furthered legitimate state interests in “health, safety and welfare of children that cannot be achieved through other alternatives” at 554. The court agreed that SROs are unsafe for children because occupants of several units share bathroom and kitchen facilities. The defendant offered “extensive evidence demonstrating concrete physical and psychological effects of SRO living on children, rather than merely generalizations and conclusory assertions.” at 551.

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