No-Plant Policy Causing Controversy At Housing Authority

Shannon Conway is a single, working mother raising two sons and living in public housing in D'Iberville. She takes pride in her garden, but now her flowers will have to go.

"They sent me this letter, to everybody in the neighborhood, and now we have to pull up our flowers," Conway said. "This is the only thing that makes our yard look nice."

The letter from the housing authority says it will no longer allow residents to plant flowers, vegetables, bushes, trees or shrubs. It went on to say it has been proven that gardens next to foundations cause retention of moisture, which attracts ants and termites and promotes rot inside the apartment walls.

Juan D'Cuevas Resident Council President Caroline Holder organized a petition, citing that if that were true, there would be no beds of flowers around any homes in America.

"They told us to beautify our yards, and there were like only one or two people who wouldn't cut their bushes when it was time," Holder said. "I don't know if the yard contractor was the real problem because of the weed eating."

Residents say the yard contractors only care about getting the job done quickly. They contend termites are not the reason for the new rule. They say it's to save time, and money.

"The way they do things, it seems like they are too lazy or too tired to mow around things. Flower beds are just another way to make them work harder," resident Bobby Vandyke said. "They don't like to go around stuff as you can see they ran right into my car."

"Some people get the idea that we are lazy. We are independent contractors. Some of the people take care of their places and that's great, but there are a lot of people that leave hoses slung out in the middle of yard, leave trash cans, leave chairs, and we do have to move that, and it does take time out. We have twelve sites we have to get done," one lawn care contractor told us.

WLOX contacted authorities at the Mississippi Regional Housing Authority. They told us that it was an internal matter and had no comment.