For Woman Who Owes $14,000 to Housing Authority, Eviction Just a Matter of Time

patjamesEvan Bleier Patricia James at Housing Court

A Housing Court judge initially moved to evict a resident of Two Bridges who owes over $14,000 to the New York City Housing Authority yesterday, but then postponed the ruling, leaving 67-year-old Patricia James fearful that she’ll end up in a shelter.

During a hearing in Housing Court yesterday, Judge Verna Saunders initially granted a judgment of possession for the Housing Authority and asked both parties to work out a stipulation agreement. But Ms. James ultimately rejected a proposal that would’ve allowed her four months to vacate her apartment if she paid the back rent. She argued that the Authority’s requested sum of over $14,000 didn’t reflect changes in her income over the past year.  

Rather than agreeing to reduce the sum, the Authority played hardball and told her it would give her just two months, not four, if she agreed to pay the initial amount.

Ms. James told the judge she had lived in the building for 37 years and that she had withheld rent payments only because the Housing Authority hadn’t followed through on promises to make repairs to her apartment, for which she pays $517 per month. She said, “I’m almost 70 years old. I’m frail. I’d be a liar if I told you I could find an apartment in two months.” It was after this that Judge Saunders decided to postpone her ruling.

On her way out of the courthouse, Ms. James said she felt the day had been somewhat of a victory. “The judge postponing her ruling really favors me,” she said. “Hopefully she’ll rule to give me as much time as I need and make them recalculate the rent.”

Regardless of the judge’s decision, Ms. James now knows that her eviction is inevitable and she has no delusions of grandeur about where she will end up. “In a shelter,” she said. “Where else am I gonna go?”