By First Liberty Institute
FREDERICKSBURG, Virginia —Attorneys with First Liberty Institute today sent a demand letter to Community Realty Company, parent company of the Evergreens at Smith Run, alleging religious discrimination in housing by the management of the senior living community in Fredericksburg, Virginia, after it prohibited religious activities in the Evergreens’ Community Room and threatened a resident and his wife with eviction for hosting a small Bible study in their apartment.
Read First Liberty’s demand letter here.
“Evicting elderly residents from their home for holding a Bible Study is not only outrageous, it’s illegal,” said Lea Patterson, associate counsel for First Liberty. “It’s frightening that a management company would use the threat of eviction to stop residents from meeting together to discuss any issue, let alone their faith.”
Last year residents asked Ken Hauge, a new resident, to lead a Bible study in the complex’s community room. Mr. Hauge reserved the room, but the apartment manager refused to allow him to call the event a “Bible study,” requiring instead that he call it a “Book Study.” On July 23, 2018, the Evergreens adopted a new policy prohibiting residents from engaging in activity “for religious purposes” in the Community Room. In a certified letter also dated July 23, Hauge and his wife, both in their mid-80s, received an eviction notice informing that that CRC considers the Bible study to constitute “business activity” prohibited by his lease and, unless he ceases to lead Bible study, his lease will terminate on August 31.
First Liberty also represents Donna Dunbar, a Port Charlotte woman denied the use of her condo’s community room for a small women’s Bible study.
Learn more about Hauge’s case at FirstLiberty.org/Ken-Hauge.