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LANCASTER v. SCRANTON HOUSING AUTH.

August 29, 1979

Gwen LANCASTER, on Behalf of Herself and all persons similarly situated, Plaintiffs
v.
SCRANTON HOUSING AUTHORITY; Paul J. Cusick, Individually and in his capacity as Executive Director of the Scranton Housing Authority; and their Agents, Employees, Successors in Office, and all persons acting in concert or cooperation with them, or at their direction or under their control, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CONABOY

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

 We will briefly recite the relevant facts of this case, construing them most favorably on behalf of the Plaintiff, and accepting her allegations as true. *fn2"

 Plaintiff resided in the Bangor Heights Project of the Scranton Housing Authority, commencing on June 16, 1971. On September 19, 1975 a District Magistrate entered judgment against the Plaintiff for violations of the terms of her lease, including failure to pay rent, and disruptive, loud and unsanitary conduct.

 On March 31, 1977, Plaintiff filed with the Scranton Housing Authority (Authority) an application for admission to low rent housing. Her application was denied because she was a former tenant of Bangor Heights who had once been evicted. On that day, a determination was made in writing and forwarded to the Plaintiff advising her of these facts. On April 7, 1977 Plaintiff requested an informal hearing with the Authority, and a hearing was held on April 15, 1977. Present at the hearing were Plaintiff, her attorney, and the Deputy Executive Director of the Housing Authority. Plaintiff stated at the hearing that a money judgment against her had been dismissed by stipulation of counsel, and she requested admission to the low income housing program. She also testified that she was living in a condemned home, and her financial status mandated that she seek admission to the program. The Housing Authority did not request any evidence of the Plaintiff's rehabilitation, but it did not prevent her in any way from presenting such evidence on her own behalf.

 At the conclusion of the hearing Plaintiff was informed that her request would be denied because of her prior eviction from Bangor Heights. She was informed that she was eligible for Section 8 Housing, and after completing an application, she was issued a certificate of eligibility for the program. Written notice of the results of this hearing were not sent personally to the Plaintiff, but on August 16, 1977, after three requests had been made, written notice was sent to Plaintiff's attorney.

 Plaintiff now alleges that she was denied due process of the law because (a) she was not provided with a written notice of the results of the hearing, and (b) the Housing Authority did not consider evidence of her rehabilitation with regard to her application for re-admission to low income housing.

 It is the opinion of this Court that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact. The preceding facts concerning the eviction, hearing and denial of Plaintiff's claim are not in dispute, nor is the procedure of the Scranton Housing Authority. "It necessarily follows that when the only issues to be decided in the case are issues of law, summary judgment may be granted." Wright & Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure: Civil Section 2725. Nor is the Court limited to granting summary judgment for the moving party. Defendants in their Brief have alleged that the undisputed facts warrant judgment in their favor.

 This Court in reviewing the present action will attempt to ascertain whether certain procedural safeguards were afforded the Plaintiff, but it will not "second-guess state officials charged with the difficult responsibility of allocating limited public welfare funds among the myriad of potential recipients." See Dandridge v. Williams, 397 U.S. 471, 487, 90 S. Ct. 1153, 1163, 25 L. Ed. 2d 491 (1969). Indeed the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 clearly states this principle in its declaration of policy.

 Section 1437 Declaration of Policy

 
"It is the policy of the United States to promote the general welfare of the Nation by employing its funds and credit, as provided in this chapter, to assist the several States and their political subdivisions to remedy the unsafe and unsanitary housing conditions and the acute shortage of decent, safe, and sanitary dwellings for families of low income and, Consistent with the objectives of this chapter, to vest in local public housing agencies the maximum amount of responsibility in the administration of their housing programs." (emphasis added)

 With these standards in mind, we will now examine Plaintiff's Claims. First, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have denied her due process of the law by not providing her with a written notification of the denial of her request. Section 1437d(c)(3) of Title 42 requires only that the public housing agency provide any applicant determined ineligible for admission with notice of such ineligibility, and with the opportunity for an informal hearing upon request. Section 860.207(a) of Title 24, C.F.R., requires the same, notification and an opportunity for a hearing.

 On March 31, 1977, Plaintiff was informed in writing that her application for low income housing had been denied. On April 15, 1977 she was given an informal hearing with the Deputy Executive Director of the Scranton Housing Authority, at which time she was represented by her attorney. There is no allegation that she did not understand the charges against her. At the conclusion of the hearing Plaintiff was informed that the decision of the Authority would stand, she then filled out an application for Section 8 housing, and her lawyer informed the Deputy Executive Director that he would look into the possibility of a challenge to the ...


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