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North Aurora facility accused of discriminatory practices

Eden Supportive Living allegedly discriminates against those with mental illnesses

NORTH AURORA – Eden Supportive Living complex in North Aurora is being sued, accused of discriminating against people diagnosed with mental illnesses.

The lawsuit was filed Oct. 15 in federal court by Kimberly O’Connor, 59, of Elgin, who stated in the suit that Eden Supportive Living denied her housing application. The West Chicago-based HOPE Fair Housing Center also is a plaintiff in the suit.

“Eden improperly screens out potential residents based on the label of a diagnosis alone,” Anne Houghtaling, executive director of HOPE Fair Housing Center, said in a statement about the lawsuit. “This unfairly denies a basic right – housing – to many who would be great tenants.”

Officials for Eden Supportive Living could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Eden’s website describes the complex, located at 311 S. Lincolnway in North Aurora, as assisted-living housing for individuals ages 22 to 64 with physical disabilities. HOPE began an investigation into the practices of Eden after receiving complaints from individuals who were turned down because of a “no mental illness” policy, including O’Connor.

The suit stated that O’Connor is impaired in her abilities to walk outside, climb stairs, keep house and prepare meals. The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex or disability. The law applies to housing and housing-related activities.

Also named as a defendant in the suit is the state of Illinois. Eden Supportive Living is regulated and funded by the state of Illinois.

According to the suit, Eden Supportive Living has a “no mental illness” policy that is readily communicated to applicants for housing. The suit contended that the policy is in violation of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

The suit seeks a jury trial and that Eden Supportive Living be required to drop its “no mental illness” policy.

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