Mistakenly evicted in June, disabled tenant gets Annapolis housing, money to replace belongings

Man finally gets a new home

December 06, 2006|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,sun reporter

Mistakenly evicted from public housing in Annapolis last June, Frank Brown is about to return.

The disabled 60-year-old was handed keys yesterday to an apartment in the Glenwood High-Rise, another of the Annapolis Housing Authority's properties.

"I'm getting there. I have an agreement," Brown said. "It gives me a place to live, and I thank God for that."

After a Nov. 26 article in The Sun that described how the authority erred, then left all of his personal property outside to be stolen by passers-by, the Annapolis Housing Authority and Brown came to an agreement.

A confidential settlement giving him "substantial" compensation to buy home furnishings and clothes and replace missing documents and the like, was reached late last week, said R. Saul McCormick, Brown's lawyer. A question about whether Brown owed money to the authority has been resolved.

"It's going to be comfortable. It's going to have to be - it's home," Brown said. Already, he has encountered friends who he didn't realize live there.

Brown will immediately begin to buy items so that he and his dog, Kokoc, can relocate in coming days.

The dog has been staying with a friend of Brown's, who since mid-July has been shuttling among friends and family. None could offer him a permanent home; his grown children do not live nearby and he did not want to leave Annapolis.

Brown expects his rent to more than triple from the $50 a month he was being charged because he will receive more public assistance. And he has to sort out logistical details of the move.

Brown, who suffers from back problems, returned June 28 from a doctor's visit to find his belongings by the curb in front of Heritage Harbour in Eastport. Most of his things - clothes, personal documents, family Bible, furniture and more - were gone.

Housing authority officials acknowledged that they had mistakenly evicted him. He had failed to pay his April rent on time, leading the agency to begin eviction proceedings. He paid, but too late to halt the eviction, his lawyer said.

The agency put him up in a hotel for about two weeks and bought him necessities. In a July 6 letter, it offered Brown an apartment in Bloomsbury Square, the three-year-old public housing complex that lies along College Creek, and $6,000 for furnishings. He wondered if the package was good for him, largely because the money "wouldn't buy my furniture," Brown said. At the time, he was living on about $80 a month and food stamps.

The offer came off the table when he contacted the lawyer, and the two sides had argued over settlement conditions since then.

"The matter is resolved. It's over, and we all move on," said Eric C. Brown, executive director of the housing authority. He is not related to Frank Brown.

The new apartment in Glenwood, which houses seniors and the disabled, is much smaller than the old one.

"But that's OK. I got a place to live," Frank Brown said.

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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