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A federal investigation found the city of Anoka's "crime free multi-housing" program discriminates against people with mental health disabilities by discouraging them from calling for help in an emergency.

The findings, released Tuesday, say that the city's "crime-free" housing program ordinance allows the city to penalize landlords for "nuisance calls." Those include disorderly conduct calls and what the city describes as repeated "unfounded" calls to police, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release.

The city could then fine the landlords or revoke their licenses if they don't try to evict the tenants who made these calls, the DOJ said. Those people with disabilities and their landlords "risked eviction, fines or loss of a rental license" by dialing 911.

The full report says the city often did not enforce its nuisance ordinance against people without mental health disabilities who made frequent emergency calls. The DOJ alleged that the program is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act by not giving equal opportunity for receiving emergency assistance.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Kristen Clarke condemned the program in a news release, saying it's "discriminatory and runs afoul of our nation's civil rights laws."

"This scheme is cloaked as a public safety measure but in reality it callously targets people with disabilities and their loved ones by penalizing them simply for reaching out for emergency assistance in times of need," Clarke said.

The city also inappropriately shared personal information of the callers, the report says.

For years, the DOJ said, Anoka would send weekly reports to landlords "detailing all calls for emergency service from all rental properties." That included the name and addresses of the people involved, often revealing "personal and sensitive information" about the person's disabilities, including medications and names of providers, the DOJ said.

"Some even shared intimate details about suicide attempts," the DOJ said.

City Manager Greg Lee declined to comment on the findings, other than saying the city has scheduled a meeting for next Thursday to discuss the report and the remediation directives.

"Following that meeting and further review of the DOJ's allegations, the city will be in a better position to respond with a comment," Lee said in an email.

Sue Abderholden, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Minnesota, said Thursday she is "greatly concerned" about the findings.

"Preventing access to emergency mental health care in the name of 'crime free/drug free' is simply wrong," Abderholden said in a statement, adding she believes it's "blatant discrimination against people with mental illnesses."