Fox Hill's Shameful Claim of Federal Protection

Posted:  Thursday, March 13, 2014 - 8:30am
- Private group -

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) is intended to prevent discrimination in housing and was originally an addition to the Civil Rights Act. Real estate investors in Camden who have partnered with McLean Hospital (owned by Partners Healthcare) are trying to use these laws to force us to accept a high-end substance abuse facility in our residential neighborhood.
The March 9 edition of the New York Times featured a story titled "The ‘Boys' in the Bunkhouse" about mentally disabled men who were victimized due to their disability. We don't believe that we can put wealthy individuals with substance abuse problems in this same category of victims, and also don’t see how they can claim to be discriminated against. No one is being removed from their home or prevented from becoming a Camden resident. This facility will only provide short term "residential" treatment and is more like a hotel than a residence. There are many places in town zoned as appropriate for such a facility.
These investors should be ashamed of themselves for trying to benefit from the problems of these patients by claiming to be covered under the ADA/FHA. McLean Hospital should also be embarrassed and should not continue to jeopardize its good name by supporting this endeavor. Local businesses that support this project should rethink their position, in light of the Board of Selectmen 4-1 vote against this project. And we hope that residents consider this when deciding which local businesses to support.
We support treatment for people recovering from addiction, rich or poor, and resent the implication that we lack compassion and are not sympathetic to their needs. What are we not sympathetic to is FHRE and McLean Hospital distorting the intention of these federal and state laws in order to put their facility wherever they want to. Forcing this into our residential neighborhoods does not advance treatment, it only enriches a small group investors at the expense of the character of our town.
David and Faith Hague