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Frankel Announces Breakthrough on Group Homes in Neighborhoods

West Palm Beach, FL – Congresswoman Lois Frankel (FL-22) is pleased to announce that today’s Joint Statement from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) will provide cities with the legal clarity they need to maintain the safety and character of their communities while protecting the rights and needs of people with disabilities, including those recovering from drug addiction.

“This Joint Statement should give local governments the necessary guidance to help them keep neighborhoods safe and healthy and protect persons with disabilities,” Frankel said.

“I appreciate Rep. Frankel's dogged efforts on behalf of all cities looking for rational and defensible solutions that protect our citizenry and a vulnerable class that needed protection,” said Cary Glickstein, Mayor of Delray Beach. “I also appreciate HUD and DOJ officials for recognizing this is a national problem. I'm pleased with the Joint Statement in that it recognizes zoning and land use are inherently local decisions best determined by local government.”  

“I am pleased that the Department of Justice and Department of Housing and Urban Development have listened to our cities, recovery residence industry members, and other community stakeholders, and followed through to provide additional guidance that will help our cities uphold the Fair Housing Act as they implement their zoning and land use policies,” said Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-21).

The Joint Statement makes three key points:

  • A city can deny an accommodation request for a group home if granting it would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on local government or would fundamentally alter the city’s zoning scheme. Factors include the nature and extent of the burden, proximity of group homes to one and other, the cost of the requested accommodation, the financial resources of the local government, and the benefits of the accommodation to the disabled individual.
  • Licensing and other requirements for group homes for health and safety purposes may be permitted if they are not based on stereotypes, equally apply to all homes with a minimum number of unrelated residents, and do not target homes based on the presence of individuals with a disability.
  • The Fair Housing Act does not prevent state or local government from taking action in response to criminal activity, insurance fraud, Medicaid Fraud, neglect or abuse of residents, or other illegal conduct occurring at group homes.

Due to the opioid crisis, there has been significant proliferation in South Florida of group homes for recovering addicts that in some instances has interrupted the peace and enjoyment of residential neighborhoods. Today’s announcement will provide local governments with transparency on how to promote public health and safety, uphold the civil rights of individuals in recovery, and maintain the residential character of neighborhoods. 

If you have any questions, please contact Grant Dubler at 202-226-1762 or