U.S. settles suit against New Castle homeless shelter

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U.S. Attorney David Hickton’s office has reached an agreement that would resolve a lawsuit it filed against a New Castle homeless shelter that was accused of violating the Fair Housing Act, according to court documents filed today.

Under a proposed consent order, the City Rescue Mission of New Castle and its Men’s Ministry Crossroads Emergency Shelter Program must adopt improved policies on accepting applicants with disabilities and assistance animals, better train staff and pay the U.S. Treasury $5,000.

U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon must approve the order to make it final.

Mr. Hickton’s office sued the mission after Kenneth DeFiore, who is blind and now lives in Mahoning, Lawrence County, filed a lawsuit claiming that he was not allowed to bring in his chocolate Labrador retriever guide dog, Gabby. As a result, he claimed, he could not find shelter and after 17 days tried to kill himself by lying in a busy intersection.

Mr. DeFiore’s lawsuit also was settled, but terms were not disclosed. The shelter has denied wrongdoing.

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or on Twitter @richelord.

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