GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Affordable housing representatives are speaking out against a local media report that claims a family is being evicted because of a stolen pair of shoes.
A spokesperson for the Garden Village Apartments says the media outlet did not gather factual information about the eviction of Tanya Abbey, one of the residents at the complex.
According to the Associated Press, single mom Abbey told a local television station she and her three children will not be home for Christmas after her 13-year-old son stole a pair of shoes from K-Mart. The boy claimed he did it because his shoes were worn out and his feet were cold.
But Dan Whalen, the executive director of Housing Resources of Western Colorado, says that’s not the whole story.
In a statement, Whalen explained that tenants are required to strictly adhere to federal, state, and local laws and are subject to federal Department of Housing and Urban Development rules.
“The [local media] story which was aired does not include all of the facts pertaining to the situation, to protect all our tenants’ privacy we are unable to comment further on this matter,” Whalen’s statement says.
Whalen also tells KKCO 11 News that in general, housing authorities would not evict a family due to a shoplifting charge committed by a minor.
He also added that no tenant at Garden Village Apartments will be forced to leave before or during the holidays, but that doesn't necessarily mean someone can't be evicted after the New Year.
According to a lease for these subsidized housing programs, grounds for eviction could range from committing criminal activity, to illegal drug use to not paying rent.
The Housing Resources of Western Colorado is a nonprofit that provides affordable housing. It's located near 26th and Belford.
The story has been re-published in Denver and other national media. Reactions from some people across the country have been mixed, some angry about the apartment's actions which they felt were unjust. As a result, the Garden Village Apartment complex manager alerted police that the office has received harassing and threatening phone calls.
Grand Junction police say they took down a report and are in the process of going through the messages to see if there is anything criminal about them.
KKCO 11 News reached out to Abbey and her mother on Wednesday, but both declined our request for an on camera interview, Abbey saying that her attorney did not advise it.
Read Whalen’s full statement:
"With regard to the news story about the situation of the tenant at Garden Village Apartments and her family which aired on Friday December 7, 2012, I am a representative for the landlord Housing Resources of Western Colorado. Tenancies at Garden Village Apartments are subject to federal Department of Housing and Urban Development rules and regulations, which require strict compliance with certain federal, state and local laws. The story which was aired does not include all of the facts pertaining to the situation, to protect all our tenants’ privacy we are unable to comment further on this matter. Nevertheless, I can unequivocally state that under no circumstances will any tenant at this project be required to vacate prior to or during the upcoming holidays."
- Dan Whalen, Executive Director, Housing Resources of Western Colorado