Disabled Vietnam War vet, quadriplegic wife, facing eviction in California
By JIM SCHULTZ | Redding Record Searchlight, Calif. | Published: January 31, 2018
REDDING, Calif. (Tribune News Service) — Redding officials and others were scrambling Tuesday to try to find a way to head off the possible eviction of a 71-year old disabled U.S. Navy veteran and his quadriplegic wife from their modest Sherman Way rental home.
But time is running out.
Dan Horton and his wife of 52 years, Frankie, 70, have lived at the home for 11 years under a federal Section 8 housing voucher assistance program for low-income families administered by the city's Housing Authority.
But Horton, whose life revolves around caring for his 70-year-old wife, saw their rental assistance contracts terminated in November after failing to supply the necessary documentation to the city this past summer to continue the couple's eligibility in the program.
It was Horton's belief he did not have to rush or worry about providing that information to the city, noting his program's annual re-certification date wasn't until a few months away.
He was badly mistaken.
Although his re-certification date was Oct. 1. the city's June 21 letter to him stated the sought-after information, such as a current bank statement and income verification and other paperwork, had to be submitted within 10 days of the letter's receipt, six months before the annual re-certification date.
Horton, a who had nearly given up hope of getting help after exploring a variety of avenues to keep him and his wife at the home, said Tuesday a sheriff's deputy visited Monday and gave him a notice to evict the premises by 6 a.m. Wednesday.
But he's not sure where he and his wife will go if evicted.
"That's our new home," he said, pointing to the street outside the home.
His dilemma has seen a number of people, including his caregiver, Robyn Higgins, pitch in to try to get city officials and others to pay attention to the couple's plight and to try to solve the problem.
Redding Mayor Kristen Schreder, whose help was enlisted by Higgins, listened and was exceptionally busy Tuesday contacting city and other agencies to try to help them.
"We're trying to keep them housed so they are not evicted," she said.
And while there were some obstacles to clear, Schreder voiced confidence that help would be found and the couple will be allowed to stay at the home.
"I think we're going to have it resolved," she said. "We're working to find a solution."
Although no resolution was reached Tuesday, Schreder said a lot of progress was made, but there's still some work left to do.
Everything is going in the right direction," she said, adding she was told any eviction would not likely occur until Thursday at the earliest.
"We're hoping it (a resolution) will happen tomorrow," she said.
Schreder said navigating the requirements, hoops and paperwork of government programs can be confusing and daunting for many.
And, she said, the couple's dilemma helps to highlight how easy it is for some to fall though the cracks, adding it's also hoped that their problem might help to fill in some gaps of the housing assistance program.
Horton, who served in the Navy from 1964 until late 1968 and who was a radioman on the USS Kennebec, an oil tanker, during the Vietnam War, spent 23 years after the war as an air-traffic controller.
He also served as the manager of the Arcata-Eureka Airport,
Although he had generous retirement savings, Horton said he quickly burned through that life savings on hospital and rehabilitation costs after his wife suffered a brain aneurysm in the early 2000s.
"It (their savings) was gone in no time," he said.
Under the housing assistance program, a subsidy is directly paid to the landlord by the public housing agency, while renters pay the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program.
Horton said the home's monthly rent is $1,000, adding his share is $300.
The couple's monthly income from Social Security and his disability and VA pensions total about $1,300, Horton said, noting he has amassed about $3,000 in back rent that's owed since the couple lost their Section 8 housing assistance.