GREENSBORO, N.C. — Wednesday was the last opportunity for residents to pick up their belongings from Heritage House. The property was condemned after the power and water were shut off last week.
Some were glad to say goodbye to the building, which is infested with bed bugs and known as the center of crime in the area. But for other residents, moving out created a new list of problems.
“We stayed in a tent one night. We stayed on the streets one night. The third night, our SSI checks kicked in on the first, so we went and got us a room,” said Jeffrey Coble.
Greensboro Housing Coalition Executive Director Beth McKee-Huger estimated 10 people were still looking for new homes as of Wednesday morning. She says the challenge has been finding affordable, decent housing that passes inspection. Residents have also had issues affording to move to their new homes.
“It’s been real hard, but luckily I found a place,” said John Cobb, while he waited to be escorted to his condo. “See that U-Haul right there, that’s here to move me. Me and another guy.”
The U-Haul was courtesy of the Greensboro Interactive Resource Center, which has also been acting as an emergency shelter for residents for the past week.
“At any given point we have that issue in Greensboro, but you certainly have that issue when something the size of Heritage House closes and all of those folks are looking for housing at one time,” said Michelle Kennedy, executive director of the Greensboro IRC. “The reality for us is this is what every day is like. On any given day, we have between 200-250 people who are in this situation all the time.”
As of Wednesday, 13 Heritage House residents were still staying at the IRC, including John Cobb.
“I mean, when you need help, you need help. It’s either that or we add to the homeless in the street,” said Cobb.
Kennedy hopes to move all Heritage House residents to their new homes by the end of the week.