HCD and Attorney General Announce Lawsuit Against City of Anaheim

Alleges That City Illegally Required and Denied Permit to Grandma’s House of Hope for Transitional Housing
October 3, 2022
Sacramento, CA —  

On behalf of the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), the Attorney General moved to intervene today in a lawsuit against the City of Anaheim. The lawsuit alleges that Anaheim violated state housing laws by requiring and then denying a permit to Grandma’s House of Hope, a non-profit that wants to use an existing house for transitional housing for women with mental health disabilities who recently experienced homelessness.  

The suit filed in the Orange County Superior Court alleges violations of the Housing Element Law, Housing Accountability Act, and statutes governing anti-discrimination in local land use laws. This includes, but is not limited to, statutes that require cities and counties to both refrain from discriminating against individuals or groups based on disabilities and to affirmatively further fair housing. The Attorney General is asking the court to allow HCD to intervene in a lawsuit that Grandma’s House of Hope filed against Anaheim earlier this year. 

“The barriers that people with disabilities face daily are only compounded by discrimination. The state will take legal steps necessary to ensure that housing discrimination against people with disabilities and all Californians ends. Cities and counties across the state will be held accountable for attempts to evade fair housing and anti-discrimination laws,” said HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez. “The support and assistance that transitional housing providers like Grandma’s House of Hope deliver are essential in addressing California’s homelessness crisis and the shortage of housing for people with disabilities.”   

“The City of Anaheim’s effort to limit Grandma’s House of Hope's ability to provide much-needed housing opportunities to this vulnerable group of women is a clear violation of California law,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Cities and counties cannot discriminate against housing designed for people with disabilities or who have recently experienced homelessness. They also cannot require permits for transitional or supportive housing that they do not require for other housing in the same residential zone.” 

According to the lawsuit, Anaheim requires transitional and supportive housing with more than six residents to apply for conditional use permits. Despite HCD notifying the city that the conditional use permit requirement is illegal, and Anaheim’s own Planning Department recommending that this transitional housing be allowed in the existing house as proposed, the city still required Grandma’s House of Hope to apply for a permit and then denied it. As alleged in the lawsuit, Anaheim rebuffed HCD’s efforts to obtain the city’s immediate and voluntary compliance with state law and has persisted in refusing to allow the 5,300 square-foot house, with eight bedrooms, on a 28,000 square-foot lot, to be used for transitional housing for more than six people. 

The lawsuit seeks a court order that, among other things, stops Anaheim from imposing special conditions on transitional and supportive housing and from discriminating against housing based on its intended occupants’ disabilities or incomes. 

A copy of HCD’s application to intervene, including its attached proposed complaint (Orange County Superior Court, case number 30-2022-01241823-CU-WM-CJC) is available here

Contact Details:

Monica Hernández
(916) 890-5240