Durham apartment residents ask county to help stop evictions

CorrespondentOctober 10, 2012 

Three residents facing eviction from Lincoln Apartments asked the Durham County commissioners this week to help save the apartment community and investigate its management.

The approximately 100 residents of the 150-unit low-income housing complex learned Sept. 28 that “unfavorable financial conditions” had led Southern Real Estate Management and Consultants Inc., the management company, and the Lincoln Apartments’ board to “cease operations” as of Oct. 31.

“We have paid rent every month, and we would like to know where is the money and why haven’t the promises on our lease agreements been kept,” said Bernadette Toomer, one of three speakers asking commissioners for help Monday night.

Commissioners Chairman Michael Page said he other county representatives met with city officials to discuss the issue Monday morning. “We are interested and we are trying to do all that we can to help you in this crisis that you are in,” Page said.

Deputy City Manager Keith Chadwell said he thought the parties had agreed to put off closing the financially strapped low-income complex for 60 to 90 days, after Chadwell and Neighborhood Improvement Services Director Constance Stancil met with them last month. In a memo, Chadwell said the Lincoln Hospital Foundation, which owns the complex, agreed to “some technical assistance” from the city to “dig further into the issues that caused them to make the eviction decision.”

But a few days later he said the situation had changed.

Howard Williams, president of Southern Real Estate, the apartments’ manager, said the complex faced an imminent water shutoff because it could not pay a water bill. Few residents are current on their rent payments, and rent is the apartments’ only source of income, he said.

Bridges: 919-564-9330

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