Ailing woman, 78, spared eviction after PHA's reasoning collapses

September 16, 2009
One phone call from the Philadelphia Housing Authority to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development could have saved 78-year-old Clara McLeod months of emotional agony. Instead, the authority moved to have McLeod evicted in July from the Conswiller B. Pratt apartment building at the Greater Grays Ferry Estates, where she's lived for five years.
     It was only after the Daily News got involved that McLeod's eviction was averted. After calls to HUD and PHA from the Daily News, Brown said his agency would allow McLeod to stay in her apartment. PHA spokesman Maurice Brown said the modifications to every unit in the apartment building were required by HUD.
     But Bryan Greene, HUD's general deputy assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, flatly denied that claim, adding that PHA had "plenty of opportunity to accommodate this woman." Although PHA is required under a 2008 agreement with HUD to make 5 percent, or 760 units, of its inventory handicapped-accessible by 2013, PHA decides which units to make handicapped-accessible, Greene said.