Federal housing officials are coming out against the decision by the Denver Housing Authority to evict the mother of a woman who was murdered, three days after the slaying. The feds says compassion lies within the scope of the law in this case, and hopes Denver will rethink the eviction.
The 47-year-old woman was shot and killed last Friday at the home, reports the Associated Press (link has video auto-play, FYI), where she lived with her 70-year-old mother, and at some point, her adult autistic son.
The victim’s mother reportedly had less than 6 hours to vacate the home, while her daughter’s personal property was seized and handed off to a public administrator.
The Denver Housing Authority released a long statement following Tuesday’s eviction, noting that because the home is a public housing unit owned and managed by the Housing Authority of the City and County of Denver and the mother was a live-in aide, and not on the lease, she doesn’t have “tenancy or survivorship rights under state or federal law.” It reads, in part:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) rules and regulations covering live-in-aides are clearly explained to our residents and are included in their lease agreements. In addition, all live-in-aides are required to sign an agreement acknowledging their status and understanding that they will not be able to live in the unit if the tenant ceases to live there for any reason.
The DHA adds that “we appreciate that [the woman’s] death has been traumatic for the family. We will continue to work with them, the Denver Police Department, and the Public Administrator as the family navigates through these very difficult times.”
Meanwhile Housing and Urban Development is chiming in to respond, with spokesman saying federal lease agreements for subsidized housing with communities limit the ability of residents to turn over property to other people, but that there’s wiggle room in those rules.
“Our rules and guidelines are just that, and we would hope people would use compassion. They have discretion, which is why the city has a board to administer it. There was no notification on our end of an eviction, and we didn’t have a say in it,” he said.