Lawsuit alleges discrimination over group homes

Published 11:03 am Thursday, August 4, 2016

ST. PAUL — A class-action lawsuit accuses the state of discriminating against Minnesotans with disabilities by forcing them to live in segregated group homes.

Attorneys with the Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid allege in the lawsuit that the Department of Human Services funnels individuals with disabilities into nearly 3,500 group homes statewide, depriving them access to more independent living arrangements.

Legal Aid attorney Sean Burke said the group home setting is isolating and can leave individuals feeling helpless. An investigation last year found that many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are capable of taking care of themselves are sent to group homes against their will.

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The Department of Human Services had no immediate comment on the lawsuit.