Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Housing Authority - Part 5

Continuing with the saga of the Section 8 tenant of the McHenry County Housing Authority whose monthly assistance was reduced, because an Authority clerk decided that pawn shop loans were "income".

On September 27 a hearing was conducted on an appeal. The tenant challenged the Authority's consideration that a "short-term collateralized loan" was "income".

The Housing Authority selected the hearing officer.  HUD Guidelines call for the selection of a hearing officer who has knowledge of the particular item or issue being contested. Did the Authority do so?

The hearing officer selected, who can remain nameless here, includes this in her LinkedIn profile: "Management of HUD-based grants to McHenry County agencies, programs, and municipalities. .."

Right there could be enough to decide that this hearing officer might be biased in her partiality. Could she make a decision against the McHenry County Housing Authority? Not that she would, but could she? Could she be impartial, independent? If the tenant was right that a pawn shop loan was not income, could or would she support the tenant and rule against the McHenry County Housing Authority? How would that affect her future working relationship with the Authority?

What happened on September 27 was she swallowed - hook, line and sinker - the argument of the Housing Authority. According to her written decision, issued on October 4, 2019, she ruled that deposits of cash received from pawn shop loans were "cash income", 

Her whole premise that pawn shop loans was unsupported. She didn't determine that the tenant was engaged in any business; the fact was that he was not. He merely borrowed some money for a short period of time. He did this several times. If one time was not "income", then a number of times would not be income. She ended her Decision with "As such, I concur with the determination of income calculation performed by the McHenry County Housing Authority."

She was wrong; it was wrong.

But the tenant continued to suffer the reduction in monthly assistance. A clerk told him that if he could produce future checking statements without similar "deposits", then his case would be re-considered.

It was at this point I got involved. 

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