6/03/2011Posted by MJ
The operators of two addiction-recovery halfway houses are suing the City of Lockport, and a Juniper Street homeowner, for alleged discrimination.
The suit by Oxford House Inc. and local affiliates, filed last week in U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, claims the city is violating two federal laws aimed at protecting the housing rights of “disabled” individuals.
The federal Fair Housing Act counts recovering drug and alcohol addicts as handicapped by a physical or mental impairment that limits the addicts’ “life activities.” The suit also invokes provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Oxford Houses of Western New York LLC, through managing member David Johnson of Grand Island, is the property manager for two halfway houses at 29 Juniper St. and 37 Vine St. that started accepting residents last year.
Oxford House claims the city, through its building and police departments, is using fire, zoning, building, property maintenance and land use requirements to try pushing the halfway houses out of the east-end neighborhood.
Oxford has to know these will be controversial. Trying to be a good neighbor should involve more than meeting minimum codes. Going above an beyond in street cleanup/beautification etc.could go a ways to making a smoother impact
As for the codes themselves, most of the city's response does come from neighbor complaints which the article highlights and some people may not know about. If you are currently tired of looking at code violations out your window and are wondering why the city is not doing anything about it, give them a call and report it and something will be initiated.
As for Hoffman:
No one will pry ever know what the total truth is but it does seem a long way to go to just remove one person. My bigger concern is:
On Feb. 4, Hoffman was 18 days away from the five-year service mark that, under the Lockport City Managers Association’s labor contract, would have qualified him for lifetime city-paid health insurance.Lifetime? Is anyone out there earning lifetime health insurance after being on their job for 5 years? Is it fully paid? With the exploding costs of health insurance this is an insane legacy cost to a city. As we cut actual city services to the core the money is still flying out the door and the city continues to suffer. We can see the same in the school district where benefit costs went up $2.9 with only one year short term fund balance funding. Yet we complained about a sports complex. Also there are still state lawmakers trying to make sure we are on the hook for even more.
Cut cut cut all we want. We will still be paying large sums of money for less and less services until we attack the cost structures that are effecting us the most.