Elderly Woman Evicted From Public Housing

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According to a story from Lafourche Parish’s Daily Comet, 71-year-old Olevia Kennedy is being evicted from her public housing apartment, where she has lived for the past 43 years.

     The reason? Her 52-year-old son, Douglas, who is listed as living with Olevia, was arrested for marijuana possession, a misdemeanor, in August 2008 (note: the arrest did not take place in Kennedy’s home). Even though the Lafourche District Attorney’s office declined to prosecute the case, the local housing authority director, Harry Becnel, says he has no choice but to evict Kennedy because of the federally-mandated one strike policy for public housing tenants.

     The one-strike policy, which was introduced in 1996, allows public housing authorities to evict tenants involved in drug or other criminal activity. The guidelines encourage a “zero-tolerance” policy in leases, stating problem tenants wouldn’t have to be charged or convicted with a crime in order to be convicted.

     One Daily Comet editorial writer doesn’t think too highly of the zero-tolerance approach to public housing.

     What do you think? Should Olevia Kennedy be evicted?

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