Deadline day for low-income SE Raleigh renters facing housing emergency

Joel Brown Image
Saturday, July 31, 2021
Deadline day for SE Raleigh renters facing housing emergency
With the potential of a national eviction crisis looming over the weekend, renters at a southeast Raleigh apartment complex are facing their own housing emergency.

RLAEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- With the potential of a national eviction crisis looming over the weekend, renters at a southeast Raleigh apartment complex are facing their own housing emergency. The apartments were sold. Now, these low-income residents have until tomorrow to get out. Some of them facing homelessness.

Change is coming fast at 1107 Garner Road. New siding is going up outside; Workers are busy installing new windows -- these low-income apartments off MLK Blvd. are going market-rate. There's a brand new landlord and the low-wage tenants who've called it home for years found out they no longer qualify to live here.

"I don't think it's fair how some of the tenants are being treated," said tenant Caroline Crowder. "We're at our lowest. Our incomes don't meet the bracket."

"They basically pushing us out. Every day the (property manager) has been coming and saying, 'Have y'all got anywhere to go. I'm checking to see if you're going anywhere.' Lady, give us time," said tenant Josie Banks.

ABC11 first met Banks and her neighbors last month -- days after they were notified by letter they had until the end of June to be out. After our story aired, the new owners extended the deadline by a month. But after Saturday, time's up.

Forced out: Low-income Raleigh residents feeling the crunch of real estate boom

The units in southeast Raleigh, just off MLK Blvd., were recently sold. The low-income tenants who live there were told last month they have to be out by the end of June.

"Right now, I'm still packing. And thank God I finally got my keys to have a place to go," Banks said. "I have found a new place, Gregory Oaks Apartments. Passage Home helped me find that."

Passage Home is Wake County's community action agency. It's one of several non-profits, who since our story first aired, have been meeting once a week with the tenants, community advocates and city and county leaders.

Passage Home CEO Seth Friedman telling ABC11 that eleven of the 31 tenants at Garner Road were referred to them. So far, they've found new housing for eight.

"One we're still waiting on some documents from them. Another we're actually completing the intake today. They were just referred to us. But the person we're meeting with was actually extended at Garner Road and they can stay there until the end of September," said Friedman describing the progress the organization has made over the month amid a decidedly fluid process.

Diana Powell, who has been advocating on behalf of the tenants since the crisis began is frustrated with the pace of the help.

"We've seen some things move. But we're still not that confident," she said, fearful that the looming expiration of the federal eviction moratorium will only bring on a bigger wave of housing heartbreak.

"A lot of people knew it was coming -- with the gentrification and the moratorium ending. And it's not just here, it's all over Wake County."

While most of the Garner Road tenants told ABC 11 that they have secured alternative housing or a short extension, there is a small handful who say they're not sure what's going to happen come Saturday.