Hartford Shelter Unlawfully Ejects an Individual with Disabilities from Shelter





July 15, 2019

Contacts: Greg Kirschner, Legal Director, greg@ctfairhousing.org or (860) 263 – 0724

Erin Kemple, Executive Director, erin@ctfairhousing.org or (860) 263 – 0723


Hartford Shelter Unlawfully Ejects an Individual with Disabilities from Shelter

South Park Inn claims that it caused former resident no harm when it forced him to sleep on the streets during cold and snowy weather for more than a week.

South Park Inn, a Hartford shelter and social services provider, argues in a new court filing that it can’t be held liable for harm suffered from unlawfully kicking residents onto the street in the winter because its clients “come and go from the shelter” and “[w]hen not at the shelter” “are out in the streets” “or are seeking or utilizing other refuge of myriad forms.”

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center filed suit against South Park Inn in March after the shelter suddenly expelled Zhakim Williams.  South Park Inn did not follow the State regulations before having Mr. Williams removed. Mr. Williams is an individual with disabilities who had been a shelter resident for six months. The employee who expelled Mr. Williams called the police and told the dispatcher that that she was kicking him out because Mr. Williams had threatened to “take her to a housing meeting” over how she was treating him. South Park Inn refused to readmit Mr. Williams and he spent more than a week on the streets during cold and snowy weather.

In addition to claiming that it is not foreseeable that a person who was formerly homelessness might be harmed by being made homeless again – in other words, that homeless people are so used to being homeless that they can’t be harmed by South Park’s conduct – South Park Inn also argues that state regulations for shelters do not create an enforceable standard of care for the protection of residents and the state and federal fair housing laws do not apply to it.

Mr. Williams eventually found a bed at another shelter with the help of the Center and the State Department of Housing, and has since moved into a transitional apartment. “I don’t want anyone to lose their job but I want South Park Inn to do better, train its staff better and treat its residents better,” said Mr. Williams when asked why he was pursuing this case.

Greg Kirschner the Center’s Legal Director stated “People who experience homelessness are no less human and no more immune to suffering from cruel and indifferent treatment or from the cold, hunger, and discomfort that comes with living on the streets. That South Park Inn, an institution which should know better than anyone of these challenges, would argue it has no duties to the people it serves and that its residents lack the dignity we accord to others is deeply troubling.”

Center staff attorney David Lavery added “from our preliminary investigation we expect to uncover that South Park Inn has acted with callous disregard for the emergency shelter regulations, has abused the 9-1-1 system to support its unlawful conduct, and has failed to protect the civil rights of its residents.”


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