Delta housing program trial slated for August

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Published: March 8,2011

Tags: courts, federal government, homes, housing, lawsuit

GREENVILLE — The trial of a lawsuit challenging rent increases at apartments owned by the South Delta Regional Housing Authority has been rescheduled for Aug. 22 in federal court in Greenville.

The trial had been scheduled for March 21.

The Delta Democrat Times reports a mediation session has been scheduled for May 12 at the federal courthouse in Oxford.

The lawsuit was filed in 2009 after residents received notices that rent would more than double at housing units in Bolivar, Washington, Sunflower, Sharkey and Humphreys counties.

The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order and a hearing for preliminary injunction.

The more than 200 plaintiffs contend the housing authority failed to provide a grievance procedure as required by federal law.

According to court documents, one-bedroom homes were rented for $60 per month, but that was changed to $240. Two-bedroom homes went from $120 to $320 and three-bedroom homes went from $180 to $430. Four bedroom homes increased from $230 to $530 per month and five-bedroom homes went from $300 to $640 per month.

In the complaint, the tenants said they were notified at the meetings that an increase in rent would be necessary but they “were not informed of the proposed increase during” the meetings.

On Feb. 7, housing director Ann Jefferson was arrested by federal agents. She has been charged with three felony counts of interfering with witnesses working with federal agents.

Jefferson’s trial is presently scheduled for April 4 in Oxford.

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