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Pennsylvania church sues local authority for blocking building of home for recovering addicts

by Premier Journalist
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A Pennsylvania church submitted a federal lawsuit last week, claiming that the local zoning board, who decide what can and cannot be built in each area, violated several anti-discrimination laws when it denied the church a chance to make a home for several recovering addicts.

Allentown Victory Church has been working with local nonprofits to provide housing to select disabled residents at what they call the Recover Victory Home.

However, Allentown zoning regulations restrict local houses from building drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities in those sections. To account for this, Allentown sought a special exception from the local housing board in 2019; under both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Federal Fair Housing Act. In June 2019, the board voted 2-1 to deny the  exception.

Much of this decision to deny the exception was based on what category Recovery Victory Home would be considered. The church pushed for it to be a sober-living house due to the requirements placed upon residents to be sober for nine months before admission. However, the board ruled that Recover Victory Home is better suited as a 'Halfway home' due to its requirements for religious attendance in exchange for rehabilitation.

The church's lawsuit currently argues that the disabilities of the residents are not considered in the decision by the board and that this leads to the city denying the disabled individuals their rights.

When the Christian Post reached out to Allentown, the local communications team told the reporters that "The city has not yet been served with the suit and therefore has no comment."

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