Challenging Newark's Discriminatory Home Banishment Law

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Homeowners Charged Up To $500 Per Day For Homes Valued Less Than $25,000

In 2015, the city of Newark, Arkansas passed a discriminatory law designed to banish people from its community simply because they are poor.  Specifically, Newark’s law required that any person living in a mobile home worth less than $25,000 (for a single-wide) or $35,000 (for a double-wide) be denied entrance into the city, and that any person in violation of the law be fined up to $500 per day for this “offense.”  This law has nothing to do with the health or safety of a home; it is simply an attempt to exclude lower-income people from living within the city limits.  Newark is not alone in its attempt to push vulnerable people out of its city — numerous small towns across the country have similar banishment laws in place, designed to only allow wealthier individuals into the community while excluding others. 

We at Equal Justice Under Law believe everyone deserves a place to exist, and no one should be banished from a city simply because they cannot afford a more expensive home.  Last year, Equal Justice Under Law filed a constitutional challenge to Newark’s discriminatory law under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Two weeks ago, we asked the federal court in Arkansas to find Newark’s banishment law unconstitutional because it discriminates against people based solely on whether they can afford an expensive home.  Equal Justice Under Law represents five individuals who have been kicked out of Newark or prevented from moving their homes into the city limits solely because they cannot afford homes expensive enough to satisfy the city’s unreasonable demands.  If the court rules in our favor, it will be a victory not only for our clients, but for individuals all over Arkansas struggling to find affordable housing in the face of discriminatory banishment laws like the one in Newark.  Stay tuned as we fight in federal court to hold Newark accountable for its discriminatory banishment law.

Marissa Hatton