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Residents not sold on idea that W-S housing authority acquisition of apartment complex will fix problems

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- For people living in the New Hope Manor Apartments, located near Cleveland Avenue in Winston-Salem, silence is golden. Unfortunately, they only get to experience it for a few hours a day.

“Before the thugs, and the prostitution, and the drugs, and the addicts and everybody else gets out here,” said Johnnie Quick, a New Hope Manor resident.

Quick has lived in the apartment complex since November 2015. He says, in the past year, the conditions there have rapidly deteriorated.

“It’s like a war zone right now,” he said. “I have to duck behind my wall every time I hear one gunshot, because I know there’s gonna be several more right behind it.”

He says on Saturday, he heard at least 20 shots go off at the apartments. Monday night, he said, a bullet nearly came into his apartment.

“I heard a bullet hit the staircase that’s right in front of my window,” he recalled.

Also Monday night, the Winston-Salem City Council approved a loan for the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem to buy the apartments. The loan, which is $1.6 million, would be coupled with bank financing, to allow HAWS to buy the apartments for $1.8 million.

Council members say HAWS would then spend $200,000 to tear down buildings containing 41 apartments, then spend an additional $1 million renovating the remaining 79 units.

“I think that the city is wasting their money,” Quick said. “They’re worrying about spending money, but what are they talking about as far as fixing the problem?”

Quick says the problem is the people. Not the people living there, instead, the people who come there “and tear up, and disrupt and then leave. They go back to where they live.”

According to the Winston-Salem Journal, city officials have repeatedly condemned conditions at the apartment complex and have insisted that the current owners of New Hope Manor take a loss in the deal.

HAWS officials recently gave the city information showing that Carolina Bank, the holder of the mortgage on New Hope Manor, would take a loss because it had loaned $2.9 million to the owners of the complex and that the remaining amount owed on the mortgage was close to $2.5 million in September.

HAWS also presented city officials with an affidavit showing that New Hope Manor Apartments’ owners had invested some $1.1 million there and would not recover that investment in the sale. The complex is owned by New Hope Manor Apartments LLC, the Journal said.

“I hope that something is done soon because there’s no telling how much longer this is gonna last,” Quick said.

HAWS officials say the acquisition of New Hope Manor is a step toward their long-term plan to transform the entire neighborhood along North Cleveland Avenue.