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ALVENA JERRELL v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (02/08/83)

decided: February 8, 1983.

ALVENA JERRELL, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in the case of Appeal of: Alvena Jerrell, Case No. 72595.

COUNSEL

David Gates, for petitioner.

Mary Frances Grabowski, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Blatt, Williams, Jr. and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Craig

[ 71 Pa. Commw. Page 623]

Alvena Jerrell, a general assistance recipient, appeals a decision of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) affirming a hearing examiner's order which denied Ms. Jerrell emergency shelter expenses under 55 Pa. Code ยง 289.4(2)(iii)(B).

[ 71 Pa. Commw. Page 624]

On February 19, 1981, Ms. Jerrell informed her county assistance office (CAO) caseworker that her landlord required her to move by February 21, showed the caseworker an executed lease for another apartment, commencing February 21, 1981, and a receipt for the security deposit for that apartment and, alleging that she did not have the rent money for her new apartment, made a request for a grant for emergency shelter expenses. Because the landlord had given no written eviction notice, the caseworker, to help verify Ms. Jerrell's situation, wrote an informal eviction notice which the landlord signed on February 19. The record does not show a specific reason for that eviction; however, Ms. Jerrell alleges that her landlord's action was due to "personal difficulties" and not because of any failure to pay rent.

On February 20, the CAO sent Ms. Jerrell written notice of its denial of Ms. Jerrell's request for emergency shelter expenses. The notice, in pertinent part, stated:

Manual Section 289.4(a) B -- A person is considered homeless [if] he or she is without a place to stay -- Since you have already paid $175.00 for your apartment you are not considered homeless therefore this grant is denied.*fn1

[ 71 Pa. Commw. Page 625]

On February 21, 1981, Ms. Jerrell moved to a friend's home where she stayed until she moved into her new apartment on March 4. Ms. Jerrell testified that she was unable to move into her new apartment on February 21 because she did not have enough money to pay the first month's rent. Ms. Jerrell also testified that her new apartment required extensive cleaning, that between February 21 and March 4 she spent a substantial amount of time cleaning it, and that she renegotiated her lease so that the rent was lower and the lease period began on March 1, 1981.

Ms. Jerrell contends that the basis for the hearing examiner's decision, that Ms. Jerrell did not prove that she was homeless due to an emergency, was improper because the CAO, in its February 20 written notice, did not cite ...


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