Fairfax, VA

AU received a complaint that the City of Fairfax planned to purchase property in nearby Falls Church for use by the Lamb Center, a religious provider of social services to the homeless. Because the Lamb Center was unable to afford the $2.6 million parcel of land, the City intended to rent it to the Center for $5000 per month — far below the market rate — until the Center could raise funds to purchase the property from the City. In addition, the City planned to appropriate $500,000 to support the Center. AU wrote a letter to the mayor and the City Council, explaining that, because the Lamb Center is a religious institution that proselytizes its indigent residents, the City’s purchase of the property, its planned rental and sale to the Center, and its proposed $500,000 allocation to support the Center would violate the Establishment Clause. A month later — after receiving AU's letter and under pressure from local homeowners — the City withdrew the plan.