New Jersey AIDS Group Files Complaint Against Asbury Park Zoning Board Over HIV Discrimination
August 22, 2003
The Center in Asbury Park, a not-for-profit group that provides services for HIV-positive people, on Monday filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J., against the Asbury Park zoning board claiming that the board discriminated against people with disabilities by denying the group's request for a license to build housing for HIV-positive people, the Newark Star-Ledger reports. The center applied for permission to expand its current facilities to include emergency housing for 25 clients. The center's application was discussed at five zoning board meetings over the past year before being rejected on May 29. Rev. Robert Kaeding, the center's director, said that board members were concerned that the proposed facility would house drug users, despite the group's assurances that clients living in the facility would be required to be drug-free. "The main opposition was not the (number of housing units). It was who was going to occupy them," Kaeding said. Keith Zyla and Kenneth Brady, the two members of the board who voted against the proposal, said that they were concerned that the facility would "have a negative impact on the neighborhood" (Spoto, Newark Star Ledger, 8/20). During one of the zoning hearing, Brady suggested that locating the center in a suburban area would decrease the chances that any former drug users in the center would be tempted to begin using drugs again, according to AsburyPark.net. The center is seeking permission to construct the building and monetary damages of $4.7 million, which the suit claims is the amount of funding the project would lose (AsburyPark.net, 8/20).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.