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29 October 08

Housing Unit Receives Another Favorable Article 78 Decision Against NYCHA

The Housing Unit has received a favorable decision for their client, Lorraine Gill, on her Article 78 petition against the New York City Housing Authority. Finding that the Authority had arbitrarily and capriciously denied Ms. Gill’s succession claim, Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich of the Supreme Court, New York County, remitted to the Housing Authority Ms. Gill’s application to be added to her deceased mother’s Section 8 household as a permanent resident.

Ms. Gill, who suffers from bladder cancer and lives on Social Security income, moved into her 80 year-old mother’s rent-stabilized apartment in 2004 to care for her. At the time, Ms. Gill’s mother suffered from many illnesses that made it impossible for her to leave her apartment. Fortunately, she received a Section 8 subsidy, which reduced her share of the rent to $123. For years, Ms. Gill’s mother made several attempts to register Ms. Gill as part of her Section 8 household, but the Housing Authority did not process her application, gave her misinformation, and told her she must come in person to the local Housing Authority office to complete the application. Ms. Gill’s mother was unable to walk. Ms. Gill’s mother nevertheless listed Ms. Gill’s income on her yearly income recertifications in 2005 and 2006, and Ms. Gill’s landlord added her as a co-tenant to the apartment in July 2007. Ms. Gill’s mother died on October 2007. Without any notification to Ms. Gill, the Housing Authority terminated the Section 8 subsidy, and Ms. Gill could not afford to pay the full rent on her apartment.

In an October 2008 decision, Justice Kornreich found that the actions of the Housing Authority in terminating the Section 8 subsidy and failing to add Ms. Gill to the household were arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, and contrary to law. Justice Kornreich further found that, were the Housing Authority to process the application, Ms. Gill would succeed to the Section 8 voucher under federal law. The Court held that the Housing Authority’s policy of categorizing household members as either “permanent” or “conditional,” depending on their relationship to the head of household, did not preclude Ms. Gill, who would be labeled a “conditional” family member without succession rights, to ultimately succeed to the household. Rather, the Court found, the Housing Authority should consider other factors, such as whether Ms. Gill was living with her mother as a family unit, the length of time they were living together, whether Ms. Gill’s income was factored into the annual certifications, and whether Ms. Gill was listed on the lease. The court found that, in Ms. Gill’s case, she had satisfied those factors such that she is entitled to succeed to the voucher.

For the full decision, please click below.

download Gill v Hernandez.pdf (720.50KB)

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