An appeals court docket in Pennsylvania affirmed a trial court docket ruling on Thursday which held that welfare fraud and excellent restitution stability can’t be used to justify the denial of housing help. The choice signaled a win for candidates searching for housing vouchers in Pennsylvania.
The enchantment, heard earlier than the Commonwealth Court docket of Pennsylvania, involved the Lawrence County Housing Authority’s choice to disclaim the appellee’s software for help underneath the Housing Choice Voucher Program, in any other case generally known as “Part 8.” Funded and controlled by the US Division of Housing and City Growth (HUD), this system is run via native entities and goals to supply housing help for low-income, disabled, and aged people.
After a background test confirmed the appellee had a historical past of “welfare fraud” and excellent restitution owed in relation to her legal case, the Housing Authority marked the appellee’s software as “inactivated” and suggested that it will not be reactivated till she paid her remaining restitution. Following a listening to with the Housing Authority, the appellee was as soon as once more formally denied. In the end, the appellee introduced the matter earlier than the Court docket of Widespread Pleas of Lawrence County which discovered that the Housing Authority abused its discretion. Beneath 24 C.F.R. § 982.553(a)(2)(ii)(A)(3)-(4), the Housing Authority:
[M]ay prohibit admission of a family to this system if [it] determines that any family member is presently engaged in, or has engaged in throughout an affordable time earlier than the admission…different legal exercise which can threaten the well being, security, or proper to peaceable enjoyment of the premises by different residents or individuals residing within the instant neighborhood; or different legal exercise which can threaten the well being or security of the proprietor, property administration employees, or [administrative personnel].
The trial court docket discovered that, as a result of the findings of the appellee’s background test didn’t recommend a risk, the Housing Authority abused its discretion. In reviewing the choice, the appeals court docket confirmed the decrease court docket’s conclusion, reasoning that “it isn’t legal exercise alone that kinds a adequate foundation to terminate Part 8 advantages.” Felony exercise should “threaten the well being, security, or proper to peaceable enjoyment of residents and/or individuals within the instant neighborhood thereof.”