Foreclosure Epidemic Ensnares AHA Voucher Holders
(APN) ATLANTA — Voucher holder Tamika “Cookie” Brewer, 38, received a phone call from AHA just hours after Atlanta Progressive News did a story on her pending eviction, she said. AHA advised Brewer to show up at AHA for an appointment the next day, she said.
When Brewer got there, instead of an individual appointment, she was brought into a group meeting, she said. When it was over, “That man said, everyone here for foreclosure remain seated… There was a lot of women in there, a lot of them, some of them were old, some of them were young. There was probably 25 of us [remaining].”
Brewer was surprised to learn she was far from the only AHA voucher recipient to be evicted because their landlord didn’t pay their mortgage to the bank.
AHA issued Brewer a voucher for a new two bedroom apartment, meaning for a lesser amount, she said. “I have to come up with my own deposit,” she says, even though her previous landlord seems to have disappeared with Brewer’s and AHA’s money. She also needs to find the new apartment and move there herself somehow.
Moreover, Brewer says AHA knew about the possible foreclosure even before she received the letter from the mortgage company, but AHA has never come to her with an explanation of what was going on–even to this day.
“Housing Authority ain’t offered me nothing. They really did me nasty. They should be responsible for making sure I get moved into a decent location. They should be responsible for relocating me physically. I feel they should [help with a new deposit] with all this stuff coming at me, with me only getting SSI and they know that,” Brewer said.
Brewer said the man she met with, Jeffrey Blunt at AHA, said she could call him at the AHA call center, and if he wasn’t there, a receptionist could answer her questions. Brewer says neither of these things are true. “You can’t ever get through, really.”
A call placed by Atlanta Progressive News to AHA’s call center revealed that AHA employees are not available to take calls through the call center, but that receptionists take messages for them. Moreover, a previous AHA whistleblower interviewed by APN about the voucher program, Christopher Anderson, said Renee Glover’s call center was one of the worst developments to occur at AHA recently.
Meanwhile, all the stress of what has been going on caused her to have a worsening health condition, she said.
“I don’t know when they gonna put me out, I’m not even sleeping good. My doctor told me to stay calm, they don’t like me to get overexcited because my heart be skipping beats,” Brewer said.
“This shit could’ve killed me and I didn’t know it. I don’t need this in my life. I don’t need to die at the age 38 years old. I ain’t got nobody but the man upstairs,” Brewer said.
Brewer believes something suspicious is going on with AHA in regards to the mortgage frauds. “They trying to hide it. I ain’t scared to bring it to you so you could put it in the paper.”
First, Brewer learned AHA knew about the possibility of foreclosure when an AHA inspector visited her house, she said; however, this was before she received the foreclosure notice. The inspector’s name was Richard Rose, according to a copy of a business card obtained by Atlanta Progressive News.
“He said, I was just verifying you still live here. He said briefly that people have dealt with my landlord in the past, but she drag her feet. Well, we’re having problems with getting in touch with the landlord. We need you to call her. I said I haven’t been able to get in touch with her since January 2007, even though I’ve had several break-ins,” Brewer said.
“I asked that Housing guy, what should I do? He said it’s beyond your head. He said it’s more serious than a housing inspection. It’s a foreclosure. He said I’m not going to say it is, but that’s what he believes is going on. He said we’re not sending the landlord any more rent. He said, I believe that’s what’s going on, because no one can contact the landlord,” Brewer said.
Second, Brewer asserts that when she went for her voucher recertification appointment, a couple weeks before this happened, she was asked to sign a form that she was agreeing to a voucher for a two-bedroom.
If true, why would Housing have assigned her a two bedroom when she was still living in a three bedroom house, unless they knew the foreclosure was going to happen?
“I already knew something was suspicious,” Brewer said.
“Housing should’ve did their investigation, before coming to me, disturbing me with this matter. I felt like it was harassing me, bringing stuff to me at a point in time not knowing what my health is. Before they came to my house about call my landlord and all this foolishness. They’re the ones that have a contract with my landlord. I always tell Housing Authority what’s going on. They say contact my landlord,” Brewer said.
“I felt like it should’ve been brought to my attention on my re-exam date, cause they knew. The proof is in the pudding. They sent that man to my house,” Brewer said.
“They could’ve handled that junk a little better. They could’ve at least sent me a counseling specialist, since they say they’ve got them. I’m glad I called [Resident President] Ms. Wright [who contacted APN] cause I was crying and everything. If I had waited for them, I would’ve been out on the street,” Brewer said.
Brewer called mortgage company representative JR Johnson regarding his move-out agreement offer of $950 today, she said, and left messages on his cell phone and with his receptionist.
Brewer has begun an apartment search but must travel on foot, she said, but she’s concerned because her doctor advised her not to exert herself or get overexcited.
Brewer said she would like to sue her former landlord but needs legal assistance. An anonymous source familiar with the matter said AHA does not pursue legal action against the landlords themselves.
About the author:
Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor of The Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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