CHA to allow resident to stay at College Hill Courts public housing

CHA to allow resident to stay at College Hill Courts public housing

August 18th, 2012 by Yolanda Putman in Local Regional News

Joyce Hardwick

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

Joyce Hardwick faced a choice - her sons or her apartment at College Hill Courts public housing.

In the end, she will get to keep both.

Late last month, the Chattanooga Housing Authority held a hearing about Hardwick's eligibility for public housing in light of a disorderly conduct charge lodged against her by police.

The 45-year-old mother of five has two sons on a CHA list that says they're not allowed on any public housing site. She said she was directed to sign a document saying that she promises to prohibit her boys and certain others deemed undesirable by CHA -- or face eviction.

Hardwick declined to sign the document.

Yet CHA relented.

The agency says in a letter dated Aug. 2 that she will be allowed to stay after all.

"After consideration of all of the information presented at the hearing, I find that you are eligible for continued occupancy in the CHA's Public Housing Program," said the letter signed by hearing officer Dan Thomas. "In arriving at this decision, I considered information contained in your file as well as information provided by you and Shirley Russell of the CHA's public safety department."

CHA officials gave no further comment about why Hardwick is allowed to remain in her home.

Hardwick, who voiced concerns for her safety, said she no longer wants to comment concerning her eviction hearing or the resulting letter from CHA.

In April, Hardwick was arrested by Chattanooga police for disorderly conduct after she was accused of interfering with the arrest of her son, 22-year-old Rodney Lomnick. Police say Lomnick is a documented member of the Athens Park Blood gang and he has had 13 arrests since 2009, according to Hamilton County records.

Another of Hardwick's sons, Eric Fossis Jr., 20, has been arrested on drug charges five times, all in College Hill Courts.

Hardwick has had her own issues, convicted of disorderly conduct for incidents involving the police in 2003 and 2008.

This summer, Hardwick got more than 100 signatures on a petition that was sent to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. The petition accuses city and CHA police officers of being physically and verbally abusive to College Hill Courts residents, including herself, and she asked HUD to investigate.

HUD officials did not respond when asked by email if they intended to investigate allegations of excessive force and verbal abuse alleged by the petition.

On June 28, Hardwick stood before General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck for the April disorderly conduct charge. Shattuck turned the case over to the Hamilton County grand jury.