State accused of segregating Minnesotans with disabilities in group homes

Group home system limits options, class action lawsuit says.

News Story (Minnesota)

Chris Serres
Star-Tribune (Minneapolis)
August 4, 2016

Tags: Disability Rights

Organizations mentioned/involved: Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid


Hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Minnesotans with disabilities are being forced to live in segregated group homes, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday that asserts that they are cut off from mainstream society and prevented from living in communities of their choosing.

In a class-action suit against the state of Minnesota, attorneys with Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid allege that the Department of Human Services maintains a “discriminatory residential service system” that funnels individuals with disabilities into nearly 3,500 group homes statewide, where they are surrounded by other people with disabilities and have little control over their daily lives, while depriving them of access to housing options that would enable them to live more independently.

“People are stuck in these facilities, where they experience isolation, lack of control and an overall helplessness,” said Legal Aid attorney Sean Burke. “It’s no longer good enough.”