City of Momence ordered to resume water service to Good Shepherd Manor Group Home

U.S. District Court Judge Michael P. McCuskey has ordered the City of Momence to resume water service to Good Shepherd Manor's two group homes. The City of Momence has resumed water service to the Good Shepherd Manor facilities on Friday morning.

U.S. District Court finds water stoppage to be discriminatory under federal law

MOMENCE, Ill., May 14, 2001 — U.S. District Court Judge Michael P. McCuskey has ordered the City of Momence to resume water service to Good Shepherd Manor's two group homes. The City of Momence has resumed water service to the Good Shepherd Manor facilities on Friday morning.

"This is really good news. We are very pleased with the Court's ruling," said Good Shepherd Manor President and CEO Jim Czerwionka. "More importantly, we are very happy that the water has been turned back on and that our residents can move into their rooms. They've been waiting weeks for this."

In its ruling, the Court agreed there was a likelihood of success on Good Shepherd Manor's claim that the City of Momence discriminated against the residents of the group home when the water was shut off. The Court's mandatory injunction was issued to protect the rights of the 16 developmentally disabled residents to live in a place which reasonably accommodates their needs.

With the water service on, the residents of the Good Shepherd Manor group home were able to move in on Friday. Kankakee County inspectors were also on- hand to issue occupancy permits.

Last week the Good Shepherd Manor Foundation (GSMF) filed a lawsuit against the City of Momence to secure protection under the Federal Fair Housing Act Amendments, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act for the residents of the two group homes. The discrimination suit names Momence Mayor William Peterson, and City Aldermen James Saindon, Cheryl Hess, James Vickery, Gerald Denton, Stanley Jensen, Donna Studer, John Metz and James Moody. Defendants could be liable for punitive damages under the Fair Housing Act Amendments.

Good Shepherd Manor had been engaged in negotiations with the owners of an adjacent parcel of land about terms to pay for extending water and sewer lines. The owner refused to pay and the lines have not been extended. Subsequently, the city shut off the water. All of Good Shepherd Manor's water fees and permits were paid and up-to-date. The City of Momence's action to shut off the water and get involved in the negotiations between the two private parties has prevented the group home residents from moving in to their new home.

"We are glad to have this ruling and be able to move in as we had planned to do three weeks ago," said Czerwionka.

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