An ordinance was passed in West St. Paul during November that restricts where some disabled people who receive government rental assistance can live, barring them from zones that prospect apartments and townhouses in the future.
The Star Tribune reports that while disability advocates cite the ordinance as discriminatory and Dakota County officials say that the result severely restricts choice for the disabled; West St. Paul officials claim that police officers have been overburdened by calls from apartment complexes where those who qualify for support services live.
These residents might be mentally ill, physically or mentally disabled, recovering addicts or elderly according to Minnesota’s laws on financial assistance. Dakota County lists around 400 seniors and 100 disabled people that live in registered housing within West St. Paul.
City attorneys see the issue not as a restriction on civil liberties, but rather as a regulation on private business. With claims of misallocating police resources on one side and discrimination on the other, West St. Paul finds itself in a contentious debate.
Read more from the Star Tribune here.