Local News

Pandemic, approaching storm leave evicted residents with few options for shelter

Posted July 31, 2020 5:42 p.m. EDT
Updated July 31, 2020 8:30 p.m. EDT

— The 30-day notice is up for many families facing eviction in Wake County, and they are left wondering where they are going to live, especially with Hurricane Isaias bearing down on North Carolina.

The Wake County Sheriff's Office resumed serving eviction notices on June 30 after a statewide moratorium on evictions because of the coronavirus pandemic expired. Through the first three weeks of July, deputies served 81 notices, including on 20 residences where people were still in the rental properties, authorities said.

One woman, who did not want to be identified, told WRAL News that she came home Thursday to an eviction notice and her apartment door locked.

The mother of two said that her work shifts were cut severely early during the pandemic, and she returned to a normal work schedule on June 18. She said she has seven days to pay $3,000 in past-due rent.

"I am worried, mainly about shelter. That’s my main concern," she said. “I have maybe $1,800, but I don’t have the amount in full, and I don’t know how I could possibly get it if I’m just returning to work."

She and her children are staying with a family member for now, but they can’t stay there long. She said she hopes she can find a way to come up with the money to pay all of her back rent soon.

UPDATE: A donor has offered to pay off the woman's back rent, and they are working out the details.

Henry McKoy, a business professor at North Carolina Central University, said many cases like the woman's will surface in the next few months.

"We’re talking close to 800 evictions a month. That’s during normal time, not counting the pandemic," McKoy said. "It isn’t anybody’s fault, and folks have to make the decision, do you keep a roof over your head, or do you keep food on the table?"

People in a financial bind who might soon face eviction should try looking for local assistance outside of unemployment benefits, he said.

"[Try] calling your local services or your county and seeing if there’s any emergency funds. Sometimes there are," McKoy said. "Also, [try] contacting nonprofits. Some perhaps are available for assistance."

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