PHA Properly Denied Section 8 Application
Facts: In March 2010, an applicant applied to a PHA for admission into the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. The PHA denied her application based on the results of her criminal background check, indicating that she didn't provide evidence of rehabilitation, and because, at the time of her application, she owed money to another PHA.
In September 2010, the applicant requested an informal grievance hearing. At the hearing, the hearing officer denied her application again for her past criminal activity and for outstanding balances owed to the PHA. A few months later, the applicant appealed the hearing officer's decision. She argued that her criminal activity over the past decade isn't the type for which the PHA may deny admission into the Section 8 program.
The trial court granted her appeal and sent the matter back for a new hearing before a different hearing officer. The trial court pointed to substantial evidence of rehabilitation and the willingness of a nonprofit organization to pay the balance owed to the other PHA. The PHA appealed the trial court's decision.
Ruling: A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court reversed the trial court's decision.
Reasoning: The appeals court found that the trial court erred in failing to uphold the PHA's denial, because the applicant owed money to another housing authority at the time she applied for admission into the Section 8 program. The fact that a nonprofit organization later paid the applicant's debt to the other PHA is irrelevant for purposes of determining whether the PHA properly denied her admission based on the debt. The applicant didn't challenge the hearing officer's denial on that basis before the trial court.
- Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh v. McBride, June 2012