Small bag of sugar sparks eviction battle

HOUSTON -- A woman responsible for what she calls a gesture of kindness is in a lot of trouble at the Houston apartment complex where she lives.

"I went and got some sugar and poured it in this bag," said Faye as she described how she describing giving sugar to a neighbor who asked to borrow some.

"He took the sugar and went to his home," she said.

But the problem stems from what someone thought they observed that day. The person told the officials at the Mansions at Hastings Green that they had witnessed an exchange of illegal drugs.

Faye found out a few days later when she received a letter accusing her and a male complaining of taking part in a drug transaction.

"And I couldn't believe it," she said. "It was outrageous. I didn't understand it."

Neither did Terry Brown, the neighbor with the sweet tooth who received the very same letter.

"I came home and I didn't have any soda or anything in my refrigerator," said Brown. "So I came over here to borrow some sugar so I could make me some tea."

He insisted there was nothing but sugar in the bag. Both Brown and Faye are on public housing assistance. Neither of them have any plans to sign the letter even though it threatens to force them to move out if they don't.

"That's fine," said Faye. "I'm not going to sign a lie. I'm not going to sign something I know is not truthful."

Officials with housing say removing someone from the voucher program requires a higher burden of proof, such as a police report or photographic evidence.

No one at the apartment complex would talk due to privacy concerns. But the people at the center of this sugary dilemma have plenty to say.

"It's really sad," said Brown.

"It's sad you can't give people sugar or salt or baking soda because the color is white," added Faye.

Both Faye and Brown say they have never used or sold drugs.

And they say housing has promised that even if they're forced to move out, they will not lose their vouchers.


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