Haven Overstreet opened Naomijoy’s Hopeful Hearts to help low-income, autistic children in her community of Ellisville, Mississippi. The center helps children ages 3-15—including some who are nonverbal—obtain valuable life skills such as learning to get dressed, feeding themselves, playing games, and much more.

Haven tried to do everything right when she opened her education center in February. She obtained a “privilege license” from the city giving her permission to open an education center at 800 E. Ivy Street. Despite granting the license, city officials now claim Haven’s business violates Ellisville’s zoning code for home businesses. But there’s no way Haven could have known the center was violating city code. City officials never told her about the zoning issues before granting Haven a license to open, and the city’s zoning code isn’t posted online.

Forcing Naomijoy’s Hopeful Hearts to move or close, just a couple months after giving it permission to open, would cause needless suffering to the center’s children and violate both the Mississippi and U.S. Constitutions. That’s why the Institute for Justice (IJ) sent a letter to city officials in Ellisville, calling on them to allow Naomijoy’s Hopeful Hearts to remain open. Naomijoy’s Hopeful Hearts is a small education center that serves only five kids at a time. They are not negatively affecting the neighborhood, so forcing them to move would be completely arbitrary and hurt needy families’ right to choose the best education for their children.





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