Tenants kicked out of their homes for new Durham public housing upset over relocation options

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Friday, March 24, 2023
Relocation options frustrating Durham Public Housing tenants
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Dozens of Durham residents are frustrated and stressed over being kicked out of their homes to make way for new affordable public housing.

Dozens of Durham residents are frustrated and stressed over being kicked out of their homes to make way for new affordable public housing.

Felicia Meadows says, "I want answers and not just being pacified. Time is winding down."

Meadows is one of the residents that is being forced to move out of the remaining Liberty Street Apartments. It's a place she's called home for the last nine years.

"I want to know that me and my daughter, I'll be able to move and we'll be safe," she adds.

The Liberty Street Apartments are owned by Durham Housing Authority and are all being demolished as part of DHA's plan to improve the quality of public housing. Meadows understands the need for better qualify affordable housing but says, "But where's the affordable housing now? If you're taking it away, and you have nothing, where are you putting people at now and you're forcing people out?

Meadows along with her neighbors need to be out of their homes by May, so DHA can tear down the remaining units, but they're upset with the lack of relocation options DHA is giving them.

"Now, in the end, they're trying to make us go to Oxford Manor. You put me over there, we may not make it out," she said to Troubleshooter Diane Wilson. Due to safety concerns, these residents don't want that option. They also claim they can't get answers from their DHA representative.

"It's been over a week and a half going on two weeks and nobody, but once I contacted you somebody called me today."

Once DHA learned these residents reached out to Wilson, representatives from DHA along with the CEO, Anthony Scott visited with residents.

"It's disruptive to existing families. Right? It's like you said moving is not easy. We certainly understand that." Scott says DHA has had community meetings to help their residents understand their options. "The options that we have for relocation are other DHA properties, and so some families are like, I don't want to go to that site or I don't want to go to this site, and so that creates the limbo in terms of saying I don't want to go to another location," Scott adds.

Scott says that these residents just can't request any DHA property, as there needs to be an open unit. If residents don't want to go to the DHA property offered, the agency is working to get housing choice vouchers. "Everything we do has to be blessed and approved by HUD first and foremost. So they've already approved the relocation plan, but then the step of getting vouchers is another process we have to go through," Scott said.

DHA says they hope to have the housing choice vouchers before the move-out date in May, so that gives families another option. Those families who are being forced to leave their homes here will be able to come back once this new DHA housing is complete, but that will take time and be stressful during this relocation process.

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