Homeless group wins $1 million in lawsuit against Boise
A federal jury has ordered the city of Boise to pay $1 million to an organization that advocates for homeless people for discriminating against women and children and retaliating against the organization when board members complained.
The verdict was handed down Wednesday evening in U.S. District Court in the lawsuit brought by Community House Inc.
Boise spokesman Adam Park says the city respectfully disagrees with the decision and is considering an appeal.
Park released a statement saying, “The City did not engage in any discrimination. Instead, it worked to provide housing for women and families in other local programs. The City’s commitment to those most vulnerable in our community is proven by its longstanding support of Interfaith Sanctuary, the City Light Home for Women, the Women and Children’s Alliance and Allumbaugh House, the community’s substance abuse and crisis mental health facility. In fact, the City used the proceeds from the sale of Community House to create the Neighbors in Need trust fund that each year provides significant funding to address solutions to homelessness.
“The award of damages is without basis, as no evidence of specific financial loss was presented at trial. The city will seek to overturn or reduce the damages award; however, taxpayers should know the City holds an insurance policy against such a verdict, so if an appeal is unsuccessful, it is likely no taxpayer money will be used to pay damages.”
The organization and Boise City once partnered to run the homeless shelter, but Community House sued when it learned the city intended to turn it over to another organization that would make it men-only, leaving women and children with nowhere to go.
The city denied the lawsuit claims, but after an elevn-day trial, jurors sided with Community House.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story)