Woman, 71, fears she'll be evicted

October 17, 2009 9:42:52 PM PDT
An elderly woman who has lived in the same place for 30 years is facing eviction and could lose her home, all for something she says she didn't do.She's caught in a dispute with the housing authority after she thought she was doing the right thing. The woman is afraid she'll have to move out over what she calls a big misunderstanding.

Just one day after her 71st birthday Pearlie Andrews is in no mood to celebrate.

"It really upset me enough to make me sick," she said.

That's because instead of blowing out candles, she's too busy worrying if she'll have a place to live.

Andrews said, "I didn't have nowhere to go."

It all began last month when the management at Irvington Village sent her a letter telling her she had to vacate. The reason, they said, was because her son, who was on their no trespassing list, had been caught on their property with drugs. Under HUD guidelines, if any tenant or guest is caught breaking the law, the tenant is subject to immediate eviction.

Susie McMichael with the Houston Housing Authority explained, "I think this goes back to 1996 with President Clinton. It was a 'one strike, you're out' policy."

But Andrews, who has lived at the complex for more than 30 years, says the housing authority has it all wrong. She says she was the one who actually put her son's name on the no trespassing list, to avoid liability.

She explained, "He wasn't staying with me. He wasn't in my household. He wasn't in my lease."

Lenwood Johnson with the Free Man's Neighborhood Association said, "They need to be educated on what the law is and stop harassing and traumatizing poor families."

Since we first inquired about the eviction, the Houston Housing Authority now says it will review the case.

"There are a lot of issues surrounding it and we want to make sure we got all our information correct before we come back out," McMichael said.

Until then, though, Andrews still worries what will happen.

"It's really tough," she said. "It's really tough because I really thought I'd be sleeping somewhere under a bridge somewhere and that's not fair."

The housing authority says they will have a meeting on this issue on Monday, and they hope to have a solution by the end of the day.

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