Congressman examines C’dale eviction
CARBONDALE U.S. Rep. John Salazar’s office is looking into an attempt by the Carbondale Housing Authority to evict 79-year-old Lea Cano from senior housing, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.Press secretary Tara Trujillo said a case worker in Salazar’s office is working with a congressional liaison with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to examine the case.”Our goal is to ensure that our elderly are being treated fairly,” said Trujillo, “and that there is accountability and oversight of the management of this housing authority.”Cano came home to her one-bedroom unit at the Crystal Meadows Apartments on Jan. 22 to find an eviction notice tacked to her door. She was ordered to get out of the apartment by March 1. Cano said she won’t leave without a fight because she doesn’t believe she has done anything to deserve eviction.Cano is on a fixed income, which determines her rent. She pays $124 per month for her apartment. If she is forced out, she said she will never find an alternative at that price.The nonprofit Carbondale Housing Authority owns and operates Crystal Meadows. The project is affiliated with HUD to provide subsidized housing for elderly and disabled tenants. Carbondale Housing Authority executive director Jerilyn Nieslanik and the authority’s board of directors have declined to discuss the grounds for Cano’s eviction.Carol Viner, an attorney with Colorado Legal Services in Grand Junction, is representing Cano. Viner said Cano has scheduled an appearance before the housing authority board March 7 to appeal the eviction.Viner said her goal is to reach a settlement and avoid litigation in the case.Meanwhile, the office of Salazar, a Democrat, got involved at the request of Dominique Cano, Lea’s granddaughter. Dominique, who lives in San Diego, said she previously worked for the federal government, including the Clinton White House, so she is familiar with help available to citizens.She said representatives’ staffs tend to be responsive to pleas for help from constituents. So she called Salazar’s district office in Grand Junction last week and asked to speak to the staff member in charge of seniors’ issue. She outlined her grandmother’s case and got a pledge from the staff to look into it.Trujillo said the case worker in the office is compiling a list of complaints about the management of Crystal Meadows with “a tenant.” Viner said she has also been asked to supply information to Salazar’s office about Cano’s eviction case.Trujillo said the office is working as quickly as possible on the matter, realizing that that Cano is facing potential eviction.”We’re trying to make sure this elderly woman isn’t put out into the street,” Trujillo said.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is email@example.com.
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