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DOJ: In Minneapolis Suburb, Mental Health Calls No Longer Nuisances

Anoka, a suburb of Minneapolis, agreed not to disclose private medical information about renters with mental-health issues to resolve a complaint brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Associated Press reports. Under the agreement, the city also cannot treat mental health-related calls to an address as nuisance calls. The settlement comes six months after the Justice Department had sent a letter to Anoka, outlining the findings of its investigation, which showed illegal discrimination in enforcing a “crime-free” housing ordinance that allowed the city to fine or deny rental licenses to landlords whose properties are deemed a nuisance or a source of criminal activity.


 As part of Anoka’s enforcement, in at least 780 cases from 2018 through mid-2023, the city issued weekly reports to landlords sharing details about people’s mental health crises and even how some tried to kill themselves, a violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, the DOJ said. DOJ officials described the November letter as a first-of-its-kind finding of discrimination against people with mental health disabilities from one of the hundreds of anti-crime ordinances enacted by cities across the U.S. since the early 1990s.

 

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