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Homeless Tenn. couple given free home strips it for money to buy crack

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Police say a homeless couple that was given a free home earlier this year has since stripped the home and sold everything inside the home to buy crack cocaine.

Patricia Douglas and Willie Banner were given the home back in February as part of a federal program to house 100,000 homeless people around the country.

The couple was initially overjoyed to receive the home. Now the couple is in jail accused of stripping the duplex. WREG reported their air conditioning unit was also allegedly sold to a neighbor.

“I am shocked, really” said Kelcey Johnson, director of the Hospitality Hubs that takes applications from homeless people who want housing. “I really feel bad for the landlord that put his property into this program.”

The program is called “100 homes Memphis.” Federal money is used to house homeless people. However, drug testing is not a part of the program.

“Drug use and abuse alcohol use and abuse does not disqualify people for this program,” said Johnson.

Read more: WREG


  • Angie Brewer

    Obviously you can’t just give people a hand out but not help them overcome the root of the problem they are dealing with. For sure, any federal program that gives assistance should require drug testing to protect the interests of the tax payers. Should applicants fail said testing; compliance with and in a treatment program should be required to receive assistance.

  • Faith

    “I am shocked, really” said Kelcey Johnson, director of the Hospitality Hubs Really he was shocked? Anybody here shocked? I did not think so.
    Does this program do drug testing? You should have to take a drug test to get any form of assistance for anything at all.

  • Chucky1992

    Well the person who owns the home will not likely participate in that program anymore. I sure as hell wouldn’t. Who pays for the repairs? I bet it is not the program or the federal government.

    • Chucky1992

      I’ve always thought that those who live in Section 8 and HUD properties should have to submit to random drug testing. Those who use drugs can only be evicted when they are caught.

      • Fareed Sandulani

        Drug testing costs a lot of money so you’re just wasting your own money to pay the gov more. Plus its a waste of time since most people aren’t using/abusing them. This is 1 case that’s extreme. I’ll bet if you check the others you will find they are happy respectable people and we should respect that.

        Now these two do need help and they weren’t screened properly is what happened. So there needs to be an added policy and/or level of checks. They needed treatment and some will still reject treatment so you can’t just go and suggest testing for all just because of a dumb few. Lets continue to try and help these people that have lost their ability to function within normal limits.

  • thehomelessguy

    Yep, some cities are not running these programs correctly. Personally, I think they are purposely setting up the program to fail so that they can discontinue these efforts. What the city is supposed to do, according to the program, is to also provide case managers to help them adjust and to keep an eye on them, in case they do something like this. You have to commit to the housing first program all the way, or not do it, period. Still, considering that the other 99 participants did not do this, is a good sign that the program is working, and bringing homelessness to an end.

    • Dave Rosaire

      “Personally, I think they are purposely setting up the program to fail so that they can discontinue these efforts.”

      Not true,,, The problem is #1 Nepotisim, #2 It is not a profit driven model as taxes just get raised.

      Most government workers discuss nothing nut what they are going to do when they retire starting day 1. They punch the clock and do minimal amounts to get by.

      Ever hear the term, “Good enough for government standards”?? There is a reason.

      How about when a contract go’s over budget?? I tought a “Contract is a Contract”.

      Most entry level positions only require a GED (Good Enough Diploma) in local government,, you get what you pay for.

  • Kevin Barbieux

    And to answer the question, “why no drug test?” the reason is fairly simple. These homeless people will not take the housing offer if they have to be clean and sober. Still, it benefits the city and the homeless to offer the program in this way, as it still saves the city a great deal of money, verses just leaving the homeless on the streets where they cause even more problems.

  • MiMi LLawsonn

    Perhaps drug and alcohol testing should be included…only IF a person wants help should people help them. These people did NOT want to be helped…they only wanted to abuse drugs. sad.

  • Angela Vergara

    Its sad I’m a single mother who is in bad need of a home for me and my 2 sons and people whom are lucky enough to recive such a gift dont even appreciate what they have been blessed with so sad

    • Mr. Papageorgio

      You need a home and yet have internet access at 250 in the afternoon…what’s wrong with this picture

      • livingwell

        Public libraries have internet access, Mr. Papageorgio. Maybe she’s at work. Maybe she’s at college. Maybe it doesn’t make any difference where she is.

  • Suzanne

    If you want to help the homeless, START with the young families with children…not the crack head “couples” who aren’t even married.

  • Kevin Barbieux

    The financial considerations are thus: Chronically homeless people such as these, cost cities an average of 100,000 dollars per year – that’s from police and other first responders dealing with them on the streets, hospital stays and ER usage that they can’t pay for, etc. By putting these people into housing first programs, they end up costing cities about 20,000. So, for every successful housing first resident, each city is saving about 80 thousand dollars – money that they can use to help homeless single mothers, etc.

  • nicole

    I agree that drug and alcohol testing should be checked, and instead of giving them a home help them get into a rehab program so they become self reliant again give them a chance to get an education and get a job, so they dont disappoint those people who help give them a hand up.

  • Jason

    And who didn’t see that coming. You can’t help crack head trash, and who would want to anyway. Taxpayer dollars just bought those two a lot of crack. You’re welcome.

  • mary

    This country is full of “Its everyone else’s fault” You are homeless due to your own choices you made such as drug use having babies when you could not afford them not working as many jobs as you can etc so forget help from anyone instead help yourself. Funny if we all get that concept down (Depend on yourself) and stop enabling we may see these problems decrease. I am tired of my tax dollars going to people who make bad choices As far as the comment about helping single mothers I ask how many of them had the children out of wedlock or married a man they knew was a deadbeat once again their choice.

  • Mary Brown

    Why did the city give a homeless couple a free home? Shouldn’t the requirement be a child or family. This is just sickening people get free homes and taxpayers keep paying. Nobody is buying my house and the city isn’t paying for it, if anything they are charging me taxes, utilities, garbage pickup, water and sewer bills.

  • Karl Gharst

    These people have always been predators and will soon be in your neighborhood stealing everything with reach of the paws. They only exist to devour the bread of human kindness – lest it be given to their victims.

  • Jessica

    This is just sad. It makes you question who to help these days…while many people that find themselves homeless due to job loss, health issues, etc. are deserving of some help of this kind, these kind of people certainly do not!

  • someone who works.

    Anyone getting any type of welfare or housing from any government agency should submit to a random drug test. At least 3 times per year and up to 20 times per year. And I don’ mind paying for it.
    Military is tested and so is most people with regular jobs.


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