ACLU Sues Ronald McDonald House for Refusing To House People Convicted of Assault
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), and the Legal Action Center (LAC) are suing Ronald McDonald House Charities and its Hudson Valley chapter, for not providing discounted housing to people with felony assault convictions, a policy they say is a violation of the Fair Housing Act and New York human rights law.
“Government agencies have long warned housing providers that unjustified and unnecessary blanket bans from housing based on criminal history disproportionately harm Black and Latine people and are unlawful,” said Amanda Meyer, an ACLU attorney in a press release.
Ronald McDonald House Charities, a non-profit partially funded by but distinct from the McDonald’s fast food company, runs Ronald McDonald Houses on or near hospital campuses across the country, where families with children undergoing longer-term hospitalizations can stay for a nominal sum.
The ACLU, NYCLU, and LAC are suing on behalf of New York resident Juan Mieles, whose application to stay at a Ronald McDonald House was rejected because of his criminal history.
Mieles had applied to stay at the Ronald McDonald House at the Westchester Medical Center—where his 17-year-old son was receiving cancer treatments—back in 2022. The charity rejected his application after a criminal background check turned up a 12-year-old felony assault conviction, for which he’d been incarcerated.
Mieles tried to appeal the decision, stressing the time since his conviction and the role he played in his son’s care, but the charity didn’t budge. Unable to stay at the Ronald McDonald House, Mieles instead had to drive an hour one-way from his home in Queens during his son’s six-week c
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