City of Raleigh says widow not ordered out of house immediately

jshaffer@newsobserver.comMay 15, 2013 

— Nettie Grove, the 83-year-old widow on Carver Street, will not be forced to leave her home in 90 days.

But her future remains uncertain.

For roughly six years, the feisty, retired teacher has lived in Southeast Raleigh using a Section 8 housing voucher – a federal program that subsidizes rent for the elderly and very poor.

Earlier this year, the city surprised Grove with a letter telling her that Raleigh was interested in buying her property for a possible development in the future, and that if it did, she would be given 90 days to relocate. Funds and assistance would be provided. Grove resisted.

She reached a higher public profile Monday after a News & Observer column discussed her tangled housing situation. Political figures in Raleigh who recognized her name from several decades ago said they were not surprised to hear of her making noise.

“She takes the bull by the horns,” said Oliver Williams, former City Council member in Raleigh. “Nettie was one who was going to get it done.”

Grove’s trouble started when the city bought 317 N. Carver St. in March; Grove said her landlord informed her she would need to move. Interviewed Friday, Raleigh Planning Director Mitchell Silver said he thought the 90 days would be flexible and that he hoped Grove would be able to relocate nearby.

On Tuesday, Raleigh’s Community Development Director Michelle Grant offered a clarification, saying that Grove had only received a general notice and that final notice setting a 90-day period had not yet been mailed.

In the meantime, Grant said, Grove has options.

The city will determine how much money she is eligible to receive for relocation.

But Grove, who recently suffered a stroke, does not want to move.

“You see how peaceful it is here?” she asked this week.

Section 8 plan uncertain

Grant said Grove might be able to stay put and keep her Section 8 voucher. As of this week, the city had her on a month-to-month lease paying $26 a month.

Allison Hapgood at Raleigh Housing Authority, which distributes federal funds for the Section 8 vouchers, said RHA will continue to subsidize her rent if she stays as the city’s tenant.

However, because of federal budget cuts, the authority wouldn’t pay the city as much in rent as it paid her private landlord. Also, Hapgood said, Section 8 tenants are generally relocated when the city buys their abodes. They aren’t usually kept on as tenants.

“It does not happen often,” she said. “I’m not aware that it’s ever happened before.”

A ‘big mouth’ rep

Meanwhile, some of Raleigh’s better-known citizens recalled knowing Grove in her earlier years and hadn’t heard from her in decades. Grove described herself as an aging activist with a “big mouth.”

Former Labor Commissioner John Brooks knew her when he was administrative officer at the General Assembly and she worked in the printing office there. Grove was also active in Democratic Party politics, sitting on the Wake County Democratic Executive Committee as a precinct chairman in the historic Oakwood neighborhood.

Defense attorney Wade Smith recalled her working on Nick Galifianakis’ Senate campaign in the early 1970s. Former Raleigh Mayor Smedes York also remembered her from that time.

Williams, the former council member, told the story of Grove lobbying the council to fix potholes on Ileagnes Road – an anecdote he also shared in a letter to the editor Wednesday.

A councilman asked Grove, “Where exactly is Ileagnes Road?”

Her reply: “If you don’t know now, you had better find out before the next election.”

Grove said she is meeting with city employees to discuss her options Friday.

Shaffer: 919-829-4818

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service