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Visiting dad causing problems for mom

BY KEITH LACEY The only home Tracy McLaughlin?s two children know is Birkdale Village, the public housing project on Second Avenue in Minnow Lake.

The only home Tracy McLaughlin?s two children know is Birkdale Village, the public housing project on Second Avenue in Minnow Lake. McLaughlin has lived in the Greater Sudbury Housing Authority complex for just over 10 years and is ?really scared? she?s going to be evicted.

McLaughlin, who lives on social assistance, says she?s never missed a rent payment and has personally always got along well with the property manager. The only reason she believes she?s being threatened with eviction is because her husband visits his children almost every day and he does not get along with the manager.

McLaughlin has been separated from her husband, Darcy, for almost three years. She insists Darcy doesn?t live with the family, but the landlord isn?t so sure.

?When I went to pay my rent March 1, I was pulled inside a separate office by the manager...and he told me to my face he was getting me and my
family out of here,? she said.

The notice says the manager believes McLaughlin is contravening rules by having her husband living with her.

McLaughlin has papers which show her husband?s rent payment from his social assistance cheque is deposited directly to the landlord of a downtown hotel. There are no rules about a woman and her estranged husband spending time together to try to raise their children, she said.

?We live in a free society...and he still wants to come over to see his kids on a regular basis, I don?t see anything wrong with that,? she said.

The notice from her landlord states, ?Information from neighbours and other sources suggests Darcy McLaughlin is living at the tenant?s address.

?The landlord acknowledges the tenant?s (Tracy McLaughlin) claim Mr. McLaughlin is living in a local hotel, but the landlord?s position is he?s not ?truly?
living at the address provided,? the notice says.

A social assistance case worker from the City of Greater Sudbury confirms Darcy McLaughlin has his own address and isn?t living with his family.

?I know the manager doesn?t like my husband...he?s trying to make my life so miserable, I?ll have no choice but to leave, says Tracy McLaughlin. ?But I?m not leaving. This is my home and my kids love it here. I?m not doing anything wrong and I?m going to fight this right to the end.?

Robert Sutherland, general manager of the Greater Sudbury Housing Authority, said confidentiality rules prohibit him from talking about specific cases. However, he did say no disciplinary action, threat of eviction or formal eviction notice is issued without just cause.

Sutherland said there are numerous reasons why tenants would be given warnings before an eviction notice is issued. They include having a spouse living without approval from the housing authority, antisocial behaviour that endangers other tenants and damaging property.

Before any eviction notice is issued, tenants receive an official warning detailing allegations contravening rules and regulations. Every tenant has the right to respond in writing within 30 days to all accusations.

Information is gathered and staff make a decision to rescind or approve an eviction notice. If an eviction notice is presented, the tenant can make one final appeal before a housing tribunal, made up of appointees not associated with the housing authority, he said.

?At that point, a final decision is made,? said Sutherland.