GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — People are being forced out of their homes in the Triad, and the emergency help which saved them during the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a safety net.
The number of eviction filings for the first two months of the year in High Point has shot past the numbers for the same time period in 2022.
Housing advocates worry the trends they are seeing now we could be at pre-pandemic levels very quickly.
In High Point last year, more than 4,000 evictions were filed.
Staff members with the Center for Housing and Community Studies at UNCG come to the courthouse to count the filings to pinpoint why people are being evicted, which part of the city it’s happening in and how many people it’s happening to.
“We think with that knowledge, policy makers are going to be able to target more effectively the resources they have to fight evictions,” said Bruce Rich, director of the CHCS at UNCG.
Rich is not surprised people are losing their homes. He worries about how fast it’s happening.
“The disruptions and interruptions we saw for a couple of years with the pandemic kind of threw off what our expectations would be,” Rich said. “It limited the ability of landlords to evict at the level they had.”
Rich attributes rising rent prices to the current crisis.
“Without attributing any evil motive to anybody, there is probably an extra temptation of landlords to move a tenant out if she/he think they can get a new tenant in at a higher rental rate,” Rich said.
Rich’s team uses three programs to keep people in homes.
The first involves compiling detailed eviction information.
The second is a team project which partners tenants with legal aid in North Carolina. If available, they will also connect tenants to rental assistance.
“Finally, we have the Tenant Leadership Academy, which is a kind of training program for tenants with low income apartment communities to share with them info across a variety of subject matters,” Rich said.
He wants people to know there is help out there.
“There is help if you’re living preciously and if you’re feeling like you’re sliding towards an eviction situation,” Rich said.
Here is a number to keep handy in case you need help: (336) 334- 3731. It will connect you to eviction mediation.