Local News

Government worker faces eviction from Fayetteville home after missing rent payment during shutdown

Posted January 28, 2019 6:52 p.m. EST

— Although 800,000 federal workers are back on job now that partial government shutdown is over, the effects of being out of work or working without pay for five weeks will linger for a while.

Tacora Allen, who works at a federal prison, may find out Wednesday if she will be evicted for not paying her rent in January. She has lived in the house on Hurricane Lane for about three years with her four children and two foster children.

The shutdown forced Allen to make hard choices about food, gasoline and other living expenses.

"I said, 'OK, I can get the car repair done so I can still get to work' because, at the end of the day, I still had to report to work," said Allen, who commutes 90 minutes to work each day – even when she wasn't getting paid during the shutdown.

"I also take blood pressure medication," she said. "I'm down to one now, so I had to kind of think about whether I was going to still be able to afford my medication."

The choices meant January's rent payment of $1,200 was delayed so other expenses could be met. Now, she owes that as well as late fees and court costs associated with the pending eviction.

A deployed soldier owns the property Allen rents, and Spoat, Jackson and Browne LLC, the property management company that handles the home for the soldier, said Allen has been late with the rent 11 times in the past year, and her online payments bounced four times.

"There was a time two months ago that she was late, and the owner then wanted us to file [for eviction]," said Amber Jackson of Spoat, Jackson and Browne.

But Allen was able to pay her rent then before the property managers could file the eviction papers in court.

Allen acknowledged she's been late in the past but said Jackson usually worked things out with her.

"They used to allow me to me to pay split payment – like $600 out of one check and $600 out of another check," she said. "So there have been times that, no doubt, she has worked with me. But this time, I feel like, outside of when I was on maternity leave, this time it's like I needed it the most."

She said a nonprofit agency has already agree to help her with the rent, and a couple of churches have also pitched in. Also, her back pay and current paycheck should be in her account by Friday, she said, so she is hopeful that the judge gives her a break when she appears in court Wednesday.