GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Renters pleaded for assistance from the Greensboro City Council Tuesday night following price hikes in their community.
“You are looking at the new faces of homelessness in Greensboro because there (is) no senior living, no affordable rents,” Lisa Evans said during public comments. “We are looking at tent cities in Greensboro all over sidewalks like you see in LA, San Francisco.”
Evans rents an apartment in New Garden Manor and recently learned her rent would increase from $575 monthly to $1,230.
“We need help. We need funds to move. We need somebody to help pack. I’m not able to pack. We’ve got 89-year-old people over there that can’t pack,” she said Tuesday.
Monthly payments, administrative fees and security deposits are draining bank accounts as people look for more affordable units.
“The application fees. You apply, you pay the money, and it’s also for both people, husband and wife. Or if they’re partners, it’s still going to be $40-$65. It could be even more than that. You don’t get that money back,” one speaker said.
Councilmember Justin Outling suggested a measure to reduce affordability barriers.
“Cities have adopted rental security deposit insurance ordinances that essentially provide that landlords have to accept insurance. And as a result, people pay relatively less on the front end to get into units,” he explained.
Renters suggested measures like price control to cap prices, but state law bans the practice in North Carolina.
Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson hopes to put pressure on state legislators to reconsider.
“I think there’s some power in the League of (Municipalities.) We’re not going to be the only people experiencing this. It’s going to spread all along North Carolina,” she said.
City officials expressed concerns about capping rent, saying it reduces the housing stock. A spokesperson said developers would rarely build if they knew rent could be capped.
Renters said Tuesday they are already struggling with the available supply.
“Finding a place has been almost impossible for almost everybody. There are waitlists, exorbitant prices and not even section eight housing is available,” Evans said.
A spokesperson said Greensboro staff have created and are leading a taskforce called Property Displacement Taskforce to support tenants including landlord incentives and advocacy strategies.