Saturday, November 23, 2019

Housing Authority - Part 8

An appeal beyond the Executive Director should never have been necessary. But her statement that they "always use Gross Income" told me that she did not understand the difference between earned income (wages) and business income (which has gross income, expenses and net income).

On October 25 I mailed a letter to the Chicago Regional Office of HUD, explaining the complaint and enclosing copies of the Housing Specialist's determination of the reduction in assistance and the Hearing Officer's Decision, which completely - and incorrectly - upheld the position of the MCHA.

I estimated that my letter would be delivered on Monday, and so I waited until Tuesday to call.

I was fortunate to be connected with an official at the regional office. A few minutes after our conversation, his administrative assistant told me that my letter had been received, and I asked if she would take it right in to the official.

The help from that official was outstanding. He undertook investigation of the complaint personally and immediately. Two days later he called the MCHA Executive Director and explained that pawn shop loans were NOT income. That was Thursday, October 31.

Let's be clear. He did not over-ride HUD Regulations. He explained the HUD Regulations.

And still the MCHA malingered in correcting the problem. They only needed to do at least two things.

  1. Adjust the monthly assistance to the correct amount for November; and
  2. Issue a check for the amount that had been improperly withheld from the September and October rent assistance.

MCHA is a small agency. I'm sure the employee group is a close-knit group. I'm sure they all want to get along well.

And, when they screw up, they should fix the problem quickly. The Executive Director could have ordered the correction and the preparation of the adjustment check that Thursday. Instead, they claimed they had to wait for the letter from the Regional HUD Office. And wait they did.

But the tenant finally was able to pick up the adjustment check, and the MCHA paid the correct amount of rent assistance for the November 1st rent.

Tomorrow - look for my comments about how this should have been handled at the MCHA office in Woodstock or at least upon escalation to the Board of Commissioners.

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