Resident Can't Get Voucher While Lawsuit Is Pending
Facts: A PHA issued a Section 8 housing voucher to a resident in December 2008. The resident was notified in September 2011 that he was being terminated from the voucher program for failing to report a change in family income. The apparent change in income was a decrease in the resident's Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and an increase in his two daughters' Social Security Disability Income (SSDI).
The resident admitted to a net increase in SSI, but said his increased income still makes him eligible for housing assistance, although possibly in a lesser amount. The resident argued that his SSI isn't “earned income” that he's required to report. In addition, the resident further alleged that his income increase wasn't the sort of increase that he's obligated to report under the PHA's administrative plan.
In response, the PHA argued that the resident was obligated, under a Family Obligation Agreement with the PHA, to report any changes in family income within 10 days. After a hearing before the PHA, the voucher was terminated. The PHA also asserted that the resident has a criminal record, which he didn't disclose and which he was obligated to disclose, giving the PHA further grounds to terminate his voucher.
The resident asked the court to order the PHA not to terminate his Section 8 voucher and not to collect the balance it states the resident owes it while the case is taking place.
Ruling: A Texas district court refused the resident's request.
Reasoning: The court concluded that the resident failed to show that he's entitled to a court order. To get the order, he had to show irreparable harm or likelihood of success. The court wasn't convinced that the resident would suffer irreparable harm if a court order against the PHA isn't provided.
At the hearing, all parties agreed that the resident was no longer receiving vouchers. The PHA pointed out that the order requested by the resident was therefore not to stop the PHA from terminating vouchers, but instead to reinstate payments under the housing vouchers. As of January 2012, the resident remained in the unit with his daughters and hadn't been threatened with eviction. And since the hearing, the resident hasn't supplemented the record to indicate any other threats of harm resulting from the voucher termination.
- Barfield v. Plano Housing Authority, July 2012