Elderly Woman Upset Over Unpaid Water Bill - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi


Elderly Woman Upset Over Unpaid Water Bill

An elderly Gulfport woman who had her water service disconnected is now in danger of losing her lease.

Mary Coleman admits she has a past due water bill, but she never expected the heartache that's created. One of her neighbors at W.C. Ladiner Homes called on WLOX News to investigate.

"See, I've been a person who's worked all my life. And things like this disgust me you know," said Mary Coleman, as she turned on the kitchen faucet and got just a small stream of water.

Coleman's water service was cutoff two weeks ago because of a past due bill. She and other residents of Ladiner Homes public housing had to sign up for water accounts last month when the housing authority stopped including water payments as a part of rent.

"That was on a Friday. Then on a Tuesday, they cut the water off," she explained.

Since then, she's relied on bottled water, along with the kindness of friends.

"Help of my neighbors. Plenty of drinking water. And I go down to my daughter's to take a bath," she said.

Coleman says she wasn't surprised by the cutoff notice over a past due bill. But she says the water department never informed her how much is owed and never suggested a way to work out payments.

"Without giving you a chance. If I had a bill somewhere, they should give you a chance, a payment plan that you pay it," she said.

Now that her water has been cutoff, Miss Coleman faces an even bigger problem: Losing the place that she calls home. Earlier this week, she was given an eviction notice from the Regional Housing Office. You see, since her water was disconnected, that is a health and safety violation. So, she's been given seven days to move out.

"They say you're not supposed to stay in a unit without water, and you are responsible for your bill," she said.

 A social worker is now trying to help Mary Coleman work out her problems. The next step is a hearing before the Regional Housing Authority, Friday morning. 

By Steve Phillips

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