A.A. Goode v. Housing Authority of the City of Shamokin

IN THE COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA April A. Goode, : Appellant : : v. : No. 1517 C.D. 2018 Housing Authority of the City of : Submitted: September 9, 2019 Shamokin : : BEFORE: HONORABLE ANNE E. COVEY, Judge HONORABLE MICHAEL H. WOJCIK, Judge HONORABLE ROBERT SIMPSON, Senior Judge OPINION NOT REPORTED MEMORANDUM OPINION BY SENIOR JUDGE SIMPSON FILED: October 9, 2019 I. Introduction This case returns to us after our decision in Goode v. Housing Authority of the City of Shamokin (Pa. Cmwlth., No. 1623 C.D. 2016, filed June 13, 2017), 2017 WL 2544304 (unreported) (hereinafter, Goode I), wherein we vacated and remanded for further proceedings primarily focusing on whether April A. Goode (Goode), a recipient of housing assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Program), commonly referred to as “Section 8,”1 received fair notice of an administrative hearing, which she failed to attend. Following that hearing, the Housing Authority of the City of Shamokin (Authority) terminated Goode’s housing assistance pursuant to regulations established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). On remand, the Authority ultimately conducted an 1 See Section 8(a) of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, 42 U.S.C. §1437f(a). The Program is funded by the federal government, but it is administered by local public housing authorities. 42 U.S.C. §1437f(o). evidentiary hearing at which Goode participated. Following that hearing, the Authority upheld the prior termination of Goode’s housing assistance. On appeal, the Court of Common Pleas of Northumberland County2 (trial court) upheld the Authority’s termination of Goode’s assistance. For the reasons that follow, we affirm. II. Background On October 1, 2015, the Authority initially approved Goode’s participation in the Program. The Authority paid a portion of Goode’s rent directly to her landlord, Peter Ruch (Landlord). Goode also received utility reimbursements. However, Goode did not move into the rental unit until about a week later, allegedly because Landlord needed to repair a broken thermostat and a water leak. As a result of these problems, Goode claims she did not switch the water or electric into her name until October 8, 2015. After Landlord emailed the Authority that Goode failed to pay her share of the October rent or place the utilities in her name, the Authority mailed Goode a letter threatening to terminate her housing assistance. The Authority gave Goode 10 days from the date of the letter to prove payment of rent. Also, because Goode received a utility allowance, she was asked to produce documents from her utility companies showing that she transferred them into her name. Upon receiving the letter, Goode immediately called the Authority to explain that the problem had been resolved. However, Goode could not produce all 2 The Honorable Hugh A. Jones presided. 2 of the required documents in the 10-day period, which expired October 19, 2015. At the expiration of the 10-day period (20 days after the letter), the Authority notified Goode by letter that it intended to terminate her housing assistance, effective November 30, 2015. The ...

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