H.U.D./M.S.H.D.A./Baytowne Family Neighborhood Complaint - Housing Discrimination
BAY CITY, MICHIGAN -- SUBJECT: CIVIL RIGHTS DISCRIMINATION/HOMELESSNESS
RE: H.U.D; M.S.H.D.A; LINDA’S RENTALS L.L.C., MID-MICHIGAN COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY; BAYTOWNE FAMILY NEIJBORHOOD
To Whom It May Concern:
I have been homeless since late October of 2007. Up until that point, I had been in a H.U.D. program administered by M.S.H.D.A., Mid-Michigan Community Action Agency and Linda’s Rentals, L.L.C.
The unit I was renting had no heat for almost the first year that my son and I were renting. There were numerous repair issues that I attempted to resolve through written complaints to my landlord that I also provided my M.S.H.D.A. agent, xxx, of Linda’s Rentals with.
There was also on-going harassment by the landlord and a tenant in the downstairs apartment. This escalated to the point that I had property damage for which I was able to recover some of my costs through Bay County Courts.
My M.S.H.D.A. agent, xxx, did send one notice to my landlord regarding his failure to make repairs in a timely manner. However, my landlord continued to receive rent checks from M.S.H.D.A. and myself throughout my entire tenancy, as I was told by xxx that M.S.H.D.A. does not withhold rent, and that I was also ‘not allowed’ to withhold rent as a remedy to have my landlord supply heat to my apartment, have the plumbing in working order so we could bathe or do dishes, or any other repair issues that went unaddressed throughout my tenancy.
I did finally get heat after Legal Services of Eastern Michigan intervened and contacted my landlord regarding an anti lockout law that applied to my situation. I was told by xxx that she and M.S.H.D.A. were not under Legal Services of Eastern Michigan’s ‘jurisdiction’ and that code enforcement statues and state or federal polices did not apply to me as a M.S.H.D.A./H.U.D. tenant.
When I spoke to ### of Mid-Michigan Community Action Agency, I was reprimanded for contacting Legal Services about my situation because she said she had spoken to my landlord and ‘he was mad’. She advised me that I should address all complaints regarding my tenancy to her. I advised her that I had done that for the first year of my tenancy, and still had no heat as well as other repair, harassment and financial issues.
In August of 2007, after a conversation with my landlord in which he called me a b&&&& for calling the police about my property damage and making written complaints about the repair issues that eventually resulted in Legal Services intervening, he asked me for $100.00 cash each month above what was outlined in our lease.
He was also attempting to have me pay an extra $500.00 dollars that went back to a fire to his garage in March of 2006. At that time, I was away during the time of the fire with a friend who is a state police sergeant who advised my landlord that if he attempted to bill me for the fire, he would supply his testimony and credit card receipts verifying that my son and I were out of town with him at the time of the fire. I was given several different reasons why he was attempting to charge me the $500.00 over the course of my tenancy, and eventually my landlord started supplying me with receipts listing the money as back rent.
I found another apartment to rent in September of 2007. I contacted xxx of Linda’s Rentals, L.L.C. but did not receive a response for almost two weeks. At this time she no longer had a home phone and she asked me to call a beauty shop and leave a message for her to reach her. The apartment had already been rented by the time I received a response from xxx. I found a second apartment and faxed xxx the paperwork. Again, I had no response from her for at least two weeks. When she again finally called me, the unit was no longer available.
The last apartment I looked at was on Grant Street in Bay City. I had been advised throughout my tenancy that my previous landlord would be returning my security deposit to M.S.D.D.A since I was never provided a checklist and Legal Services demanded that it be returned. When I was finally able to reach xxx to inspect the apartment, she told me at that time that it had been decided to let my landlord keep my deposit and that M.S.H.D.A. would not be helping me with a security deposit for the apartment I was attempting to move into.
I was left with one week to come up with $700.00. I was also informed by xxx that my voucher would ‘run out’ if I did not move into the new apartment by October 31, 2007. I had made a down payment on the security deposit for this apartment, when an issue with a previous landlord came up.
I advised the new potential landlord that there had been several racial and somewhat sexually harassing issues with the previous landlord and his on-site ‘manager’. I advised the new landlord of my disability and that I am now being treated by a doctor and handle conflict in a much more positive manner. (I had cursed at the previous landlord after he made racist comments to a guest of my son’s, and was subsequently evicted.)
The potential new landlord did not comment about this incident at that time. When I attempted to follow-up with the remainder of the security deposit and ask for the key, I was advised that he had elected not to rent to me.
I called xxx in tears because I was about to be homeless. Xxx told me at that time that losing my M.S.H.D.A. voucher ‘would not hurt me’. She told me that the homeless shelter, Good Samaratin had access to new ‘special programs’ and that losing my voucher would not affect my ability to work with H.U.D. or M.S.H.D.A. in the future. She told me the only thing that would change is that she would no longer be my agent.
Since I have been homeless, I applied for housing at Baytowne here in Bay City. This housing community receives H.U.D. funds. I asked to be moved up on the list do to my disability and the fact that I now live in my car. Baytowne ignored my request for accommodation.
*** of the Department of Civil Rights attempted to have H.U.D. investigate a complaint I made regarding Baytown’s’ refusal to accommodate. H.U.D. refused to allow my complaint. I know for a fact that others get moved up on the waiting list based on their circumstances or situation. THAT IS AN ACCOMADATION. It is ridiculous to me that they refused my accommodation. I believe the fundamental issue here is that my primary disability is a psychiatric illness. Because you cannot see what causes my disability, it does not exist and I am labeled as difficult or uncooperative.
WHAT MORE HAS TO HAPPEN TO MY CHILDREN OR ME BEFORE SOMEONE LOOKS AT THE FACTS AND EVIDENCE IN THIS SITUATION? WHY IS IT O.K. TO LEAVE PEOLE ON THE STREETS WHEN YOUR POSITION AND AGENCY RECEIVE TAX MONEY TO PROVIDE HOUSING? WHEN DID PROTECTING PEOPLE’S JOBS BECOME MORE IMPORTANT THAN PROTECTING THE PEOPLE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO SERVE?
I appreciate any advice or assistance you can provide in this situation. I am disabled, as is my older son, and I have great concerns for the stability of my family if we are unable to find housing soon, again, it’s been almost a year that I’ve been trying to get someone to look at our situation. I NEED ASSISTANCE IMMEDIATELY. *** FROM THE SAGINAW, MICHIGAN OFFICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL RIGHTS IS THE ONLY PERSON WHO HAS EVEN LOOKED AT MY SITUATION IN ANY DETAIL. AT THIS TIME, H.U.D. HAS PREVENTED HER FROM OFFERING ME ANY FURTHER ASSISTANCE.