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Elderly Housing Tenants Can Stay

April 5, 2002

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Three elderly tenants whose evictions from public housing over a relative’s drug use were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court will be allowed to stay in their apartments after all.

Housing authority director Jon Gresley said Thursday that three of four eviction notices were canceled because the drug problems that prompted them were resolved during a four-year court battle.

However, Herman Walker, who is 75 and disabled, must go, Gresley said.

Walker was given an eviction notice in 1998 after being warned three times that his caretaker had been found with a crack pipe, and there have been ongoing problems since then, Gresley said.

Pearlie Rucker, whose mentally disabled daughter was caught with cocaine three blocks from their shared apartment, was allowed to stay. Also staying will be Barbara Hill and Willie Lee, who were given eviction notices when their grandsons were found with marijuana in a public housing parking lot.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Bill Simpich, criticized the upholding of Walker’s eviction.

``It’s just the saddest thing imaginable,″ he said. ``I’m not surprised, but I am disgusted.″

The Supreme Court said March 26 that public housing directors could evict entire families for drug use by one member, regardless of whether the use was on housing property or if anyone else knew about it.

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