A disabled woman in Christiansburg is fighting for fair housing

CHRISTIANSBURG, VA. – A Christiansburg woman with disabilities is fighting for fair housing after she claims a political leader violated her rights as a tenant.

“I decided to say enough is enough, it’s time to stand up,” Debra Long said.

She is confined to a wheelchair and relies on her grandson, Daniel Price, to be her primary caregiver.

Long moved into an apartment complex in Christiansburg in late March of last year.

She said the problems started shortly after she moved in. Long claimed that a man associated with the property harassed her for the next four months.

In August, a judge issued a two-year protective order against him.

Long then claimed that the landlord, Marie March, who is also a delegate from Virginia, told Long’s grandson that he was trespassing.

“There were three or four police officers with her and they knocked on the door,” Price said. “I was hurt and sad, I couldn’t take care of my grandmother.”

“My grandson had to leave the property, I spent two weeks alone without a guardian and I couldn’t do anything, and it got to the point where I couldn’t do it anymore,” Long said.

Long then filed a complaint with the Virginia Fair Housing Board. She claimed she did not feel safe in the complex because of the harassment.

We’re told the Virginia Fair Housing Board is looking into the matter.

A lawyer for the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Virginia, which provides free legal aid, asked March if Price could stay at the property to be her caregiver.

“They didn’t respond,” Long said.

10 Check news from the Department of Professional and Professional Regulation, which helps enforce standards of professional conduct. They said the Fair Housing Act requires housing providers to rent to people with disabilities. It also states that a housing provider cannot evict a tenant with a disability.

The first priority is to ensure that housing is available that would mitigate or modify the lease violation.

“She said that where we lived, there could only be one tenant per apartment,” Long said.

March sent 10 News an email about the case, saying in part that none of what we’re being told is true. She said Price lives with her rent-free.

Long said she moved from the property in September for safety and peace. Now she’s worried about finances – she said she’s paying for two apartments.

“I’ve been through the grind, now I’m in financial limbo,” Long said.

And she hopes to live comfortably in the safety of her home in the future while she waits for the situation to be resolved.

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