Raleigh renters face housing crisis in new gentrification battle amid COVID-19 pandemic

Joel Brown Image
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Raleigh renters face housing crisis in new gentrification battle amid COVID-19 pandemic
Raleigh renters face housing crisis in new gentrification battle amid COVID-19 pandemic

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Raleigh residents facing eviction made their voices heard Tuesday on the steps of the Wake County Courthouse as the latest fight over gentrification and affordable housing in the city plays out amid the economic pain of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I want (the landlord) to either extend the time or help us find somewhere to go," said Dasia Turner, as 25-year-old mother laid off at the start of the pandemic from her job as a hotel housekeeper.

Turner never stopped paying her $800/month rent at the Duplex Village apartments on New Bern Avenue in east Raleigh where she lives with her 2-year-old son Nasir. So she says she was stunned when a Notice to Vacate was left at her door last month.

The landlord informed her and other neighbors they had 60 days to vacate their homes or be ejected by force.

"I was pretty shocked because it's the middle of a pandemic - where am I gonna go? Because I only get $94/week (from unemployment benefits) and I don't work right now due to COVID."

The same activists on the courthouse steps this evening called on Governor Roy Cooper to extend the state moratorium on evictions is also fighting on behalf of Turner and her neighbors at Duplex Village.

CDC directs halt to renter evictions through the end of the year to prevent COVID-19 spread

Community advocate Octavia Rainey suspects the landlord, 3 Points Properties of Raleigh, intends to demolish these affordable rental homes to construct more upscale housing along the gentrifying corridor.

"That is what's going to happen! We don't 'think' that is what's going to happen. They 'are' going to demolish the units," Rainey said.

Raleigh land valued at nearly $1.5 million being sold for just $1

ABC11 called 3 Points Properties for comment and clarification on the controversy. The company did not call back before this story aired.

"In order for this pandemic not to spread and for us to move into different phases, people need a home," said community advocated Wanda Gilbert-Coker, who is calling on the company to stop issuing residents those Notices to Vacate until the first of the year.

How COVID-19 is affecting the hunt for affordable homes in the Triangle

Coker, Rainey and Kimberly Muktarian, executive director of Save Our Sons, are trying to buy more time to lobby city and county leaders for more resources to assist the tenants at Duplex Village.

"We are asking for people to stay in their homes (during the pandemic). But if they don't have a home to stay in -- that is a problem," Muktarian said.

To help fill the gap while waiting on potential government aid, the groups is seeking private donations from the public.