East Durham residents to be forced from homes

September 29, 2012 1:21:38 PM PDT
Hundreds of people in East Durham are now scrambling to find a new place to live.

The owner of their low-income housing building dropped a bombshell out of the blue -- telling everyone they have a month to move.

It had been rumored for years that the Lincoln Apartments would shut down, but it became reality Friday. A notice stuck to every door left a nasty impression for people who fear they won't have anywhere else to go.

"I don't think it's right at all because we have kids," said resident Bonnie Toomer. "How can we move in 30 days?"

With four kids and a fixed-income, Toomer says another $360 a month rent will be tough to come by.

"It's going to be very hard because I got to get up the first month's rent, the deposit, money for the lights," said Toomer. "It's going to be very hard."

About 200 people, families, single mothers and their children are in the same situation.

"Don't nobody know what to do," said resident Deon Gibbs. "There's a lot of mad people."

The notice said tenants will be required to pass an inspection and turn in the keys before receiving their deposit back. However, they say it is unfair because the building is in terrible condition.

"Ceilings falling in," said Toomer. "We got big spiders everywhere. Cockroaches everywhere."

"We had to buy a whole lot of stuff to do a lot of scraping and scrubbing because it had mold from here all the way around," explained resident Keith Jones.

ABC11 contacted the property's directors, but they refused an interview and said they based their decision on a financial bind. They blamed vandalism and late payments -- saying no one wanted to buy the property.

People who've lived at the Lincoln Apartments for years, however, aren't buying that reason.

"It's not making sense. It's just not adding up," said resident Jacqueline Anderson. "So, I don't think they're treating us right."

Everyone has to move by Oct. 30.

Some residents plan to hold a meeting Monday to figure out their legal options.

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