Homeless woman sues President Bush over mismanagement at Beaumont Housing Authority

Kelly Holleran Nov. 18, 2008, 3:40am

A Beaumont woman has filed suit against multiple housing officials, including President George W. Bush, alleging she may be forced into homelessness because of mismanagement at the Beaumont Housing Authority.

Amy Michele Modica claims the Housing Authority of Beaumont is discriminating against the handicapped by refusing to make them a priority, according to the complaint filed Nov. 13 in Jefferson County District Court.

Modica suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and has a registered German Shepherd named Rin Tin Tin who helps her pick up dropped items, lowers her heart rate and provides her with therapeutic love, the suit states.

She claims she also uses a walker for long distance walking and has shortness of breath.

She claims she was court ordered to get housing and has been trying, but fears she will land in a homeless shelter.

"Their mismanagement has in the past caused injuries to me psychologically and physically, thus I was forced into homeless shelters across The United States of America," the suit states. "I am displaced, on Social Security Income of $637 monthly, and fear (Post Traumatic Stress and Anxiety) that I will be living in shelters once again if I am denied once again to an apartment home."

According to the Beaumont Housing Authority Web site, there is a lengthy waiting list for units.

"Due to a high demand for affordable rental housing, BHA maintains a waiting list consisting of thousands of eligible families waiting their turn to reside in the next available public housing unit," the site states.

Because of her past homelessness, Modica lost custody of her child, according to the complaint.

Had Modica previously been granted housing, she would not have been "forced to walk the streets and having to pull my luggage with me everywhere I go for an estimated time of four years," she states in the suit.

She also claims she would not "have sustained blunt traumas to my head, stolen identity, rape, aggravated hip joint pain, large amounts of lost income and diminished earning capacity, and the loss of my child as well as wrongful accusations regarding matters in the state of Washington resulting in loss of time," the suit states.

Other people have also had problems with the Housing Authority, Modica claims.

"There are so many complaints against them," the suit states. "For example, failing to do routine inspections to comply with the requirements of applicable building, housing, and health codes; failing to maintain the premises in which our citizens were and are living; and failing to warn people of hazards to lead exposure."

Modica claims she would like the Housing Authority to grant her access to an apartment, which she would then modify according to her needs.

"If I can't afford to buy for myself the bathtub railings that I need (which I believe to be valued at approximately $600), I'm positive that I'll find a way to get this even at such a high cost," she wrote in her complaint. "If there's a will, there's a way."

Modica claims because of the negligence of the Housing Authority in failing to find her a home, she has suffered mental anguish and confusion, aggravation and psychological suffering of stolen identity, mental anguish and suffering for the loss of a child and physical of exacerbated hip joints, according to the complaint.

She also claims she suffers from physical pain of cardio-vascular disease, incurred medical costs, suffered a diminished earning capacity, suffered a loss of time and sustained physical impairment and mental impairment.

Included as defendants in the suit are Robert Reyna of the Beaumont Housing Authority, President George W. Bush, Lenette Botley of Regent 1 Apartments and Sue Tarver, the local director of HUD's Office of Fair Housing.

Modica claims she included Bush in the suit because Tarver named him as the "person highest in charge over her entity" the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Modica has requested that all defendants appear in court.

Modica is seeking unspecified damages and access to housing at Regent 1 in Beaumont, plus costs, prejudgment and post-judgment interest and other relief the court determines appropriate.

Modica is representing herself.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham of the 58th District Court.

Case No. A182-714

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