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Indiana center joins agencies in lawsuit about disability discrimination

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Several Indiana apartment properties are listed in a federal lawsuit about disability discrimination.

The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana is one of half-dozen other agencies around the country jointly filing the suit.

Thirty-eight properties owned by Clover Group are listed in the lawsuit. Three of them are in Indiana. Fair housing officials say, years after the Fair Housing Amendments Act, blatant violations exist. Adding that it’s important for people to have the ability to live freely and independently.

Roughly 14% of Hoosiers have some form of disability, according to the latest Census data, and advocates expect those numbers to rise as life-expectancy rates climb. Accessible housing is vital to keep seeing those rates rise.

“We live in a very able-bodied society, which means that a lot of individuals that do not have physical-based disabilities do not understand the privileges when it comes to, you know, going into the grocery store, going into something such as your apartment complex,” said Brady Ripperger with the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana.

The Fair Housing Center along with other agencies have filed a federal lawsuit against Clover Group alleging an investigation found widespread disability violations at 38 properties in Indiana, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The lawsuit said areas of concern includes inaccessible parking spaces, mailboxes, bathrooms, and public common areas.

“Discrimination does not know state boundaries or city boundaries, and, so, as a result, sometimes we do have to go outside and partner with outside agencies,” Ripperger said.

Fair Housing Center of Indiana representatives say one of the properties is in McCordsville and two others are in Indianapolis. All are properties advertising for residents 55 and older.

“So, people with disabilities are actually the highest form of discrimination complaints that HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), Department of Justice, and local agencies like the Civil Rights Commission receive as well as ours.”

Fair Housing Center representatives asks anyone feeling they’ve been discriminated to contact their office.

News 8 reached out to the Clover Group and was waiting to hear back.