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Federal program gives home to Memphis couple who allegedly strip it to buy crack

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A homeless Memphis couple received a free house in February as part of a federal program, but they since have stripped it for parts to buy crack, police said.

Patricia Douglas and Willie Banner were living on the streets and were delighted when they were placed in the home as part of the federal 100,000 Homes Campaign to house homeless people around the country, WREG-TV reported.

"I got my keys!" Ms. Douglas shouted back in February, the station said.

Police say the stripped house was sold to buy crack. Authorities recovered the air conditioning unit the couple allegedly sold to their neighbor, WREG reported.

Now, they're both in jail on $50,000 bonds.

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

"Drug use and abuse alcohol use does not disqualify people for this program," Ms. Johnson told the station.

Hospitality Hub says this is the first arrest it has seen or heard about similar to this.

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