Veterans in Washington on the verge of homelessness thought they had found help, but are now suing a non-profit foundation for veterans, claiming the organization actually tricked them into paying exorbitantly high rent before evicting them.
Two Navy veterans, Gary and Wendy Flowers, had recently moved to Washington after suffering a major loss: their auto business in Texas was completely wiped out by a hurricane.
With little in hand, the Flowers looked to a program called Homes for Veterans on Craigslist, run by the Making a Difference Foundation, an organization founded in 2003 and run by attorney Ahndrea Blue. Homes for Veterans operates in Washington and Texas.
“The promise was that we were going to have a nice home, somewhere stable and secure, enough space for the entire family and that we would get a chance to clean up our credit, take care of the bills that we’ve accumulated and eventually we would be able to buy the house,” Wendy Flowers told KING 5.
Blue apparently asked Gary Flowers to complete repairs on the house, but became livid when Gary declined to work on other houses Blue owned.
Blue then evicted them and charged them $3200 dollars, which included a month’s worth of rent when the Flowers weren’t living in the house. The large bill also included attorney’s fees. For over a year, all five of the Flowers have had to live in a trailer, barely making ends meet while they rebuild their credit.
Three other families have filed similar complaints against Blue under the Residential Landlord Tenant Act, although one family, the Wilsons, is based in Dallas, Texas, and they have an awfully similar story.
“It was horrible; it was the most horrible experience of my life,” said Lakeisha Wilson, after Blue evicted them from the property and sued.
KING 5 reported a similar dispute in March 2014 when Kathie King, a veteran who moved from New Mexico to Washington, was caught in a nightmare after the graffiti-filled, rat-infested home Blue rented her for money up front was never fixed or cleaned as promised.
A Change.org petition launched in February 2014 to investigate Ahndrea Blue alleges that Blue regularly modifies tenant agreement contracts to remove protections for residents and makes endless promises left unfulfilled, such as providing veterans with furniture and helping find employment.
“Ms. Blue did a thorough investigation of the veterans before renting to them, knew their financial condition, made promises to help them with their finances and yet still charged them 50% of their net income…She would not reduce the amount of the rent charged when the veteran advised her of their difficulties in paying on time. All amounts due were paid at the time the veteran was told to leave,” the petition states.
“She harassed the veterans unmercifully.”
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