Senior residents forced out as Raleigh's Wintershaven apartments sold

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- Sisters Pam Graham and Victoria Blue moved the last box out of their grandmother's place at Wintershaven Apartments on East Hargett Street on Tuesday.

Their 100-year-old grandmother, Lucy Blue, is one of the residents being forced to move out of the low-income senior apartments by August 23 because of its sale to Artesia, a Texas-based company.

Blue is now living with Graham in Knightdale.

"I can see a sadness in her eyes," Graham said. "That all her life she worked for all this stuff and then she lost it. It kind of makes me sad."

"My grandmother really seeks that independence that she had here at Wintershaven but now she does not," Victoria Blue said.

Wintershaven will be renovated for conventional renters, said Fearna Tyndall, a manager at TradeMark Residential, which provides property management for the building. She said they are providing resources to help residents find other housing.

Calvin Hawthorne, 59, is moving to Henderson.

"I hate to give up the place because everything I need, the doctors and everything, are here, within 10-15 minutes, but knowing that I have to go and all, I don't have a problem with it," Hawthorne said.

But low-income seniors likely won't be able to afford to live in the apartments once they're renovated.

Wintershaven is located right across the street from The Lincoln Apartments, labeled as "luxury apartments" on their website.

"We have searched for many different places for (Lucy Blue) to be able to afford housing," Victoria Blue said. "And in Raleigh because of gentrification, they're not making that possible for people of lower income status."

Samuel Gunter, of the North Carolina Housing Coalition, said Raleigh and Wake County have stepped up to the plate when it comes to affordable housing but that more can be done.

"We have about 1.2 million families who are cost-burdened, which means they're paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing," Gunter said. "The investments that we are making are crucial but they are nowhere near the scale of the need."

Sir Walter Apartments in downtown Raleigh, which provides housing for low-income seniors, is under contract to be sold to Capital Realty Group in New York, according to a spokesman for the city of Raleigh. He said it will be renovated and will still provide affordable housing.

A spokesman for the city of Raleigh said it has set a goal of 5,700 new affordable housing units during the next 10 years.

But for Wintershaven residents and their families, the upcoming affordable housing units may not come soon enough. Some feel they're being pushed out of Raleigh -- the city they love so much.

"It's kind of sad," Pam Graham said, getting emotional. "How it all has to end."

Artesia did not respond to requests for comment.

Affordable housing plans:

Raleigh Affordable Housing

Wake County Affordable Housing