GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Wednesday is the final move-out day for renters of the income-based Heritage House, which is under the condemnation process and will close.
The City of Greensboro said only two dozen of more than 200 tenants still need to find housing. The City said the Greensboro Housing Coalition and the New Jerusalem Cathedral have been at the Heritage House every day to speak with renters about their options. Several families already have found other housing and moved out.
By the end of the day Wednesday, all 178 units must be empty.
Last month, the City found more than 800 violations for bug infestations, exposed wires and lack of smoke detectors. Heritage House also has an outstanding water bill, which the City Council estimates is approximately $50,000.
As of 9:20 a.m., the City had shut off water and had begun the process of condemning the property.
The Interactive Resource Center (IRC) is offering emergency shelter to any Heritage House tenants who have not found another place to live. The IRC said its shelters are at maximum capacity, but it will offer an additional night emergency shelter for as many as 80 people. The IRC is located at 407 E. Washington Street in Greensboro.
The City said some tenants will stay at motels temporarily, paid for by the City of Greensboro.
City buses transported tenants from Heritage House to these temporary accommodations Wednesday morning. Some tenants told WFMY News 2 they had attempted to find permanent housing options through the Greensboro Housing Coalition. But, the City said the inspections process of these housing options is happening more slowly than expected.
City spokesperson Donnie Turlington explained, "The big thing is we don't want to put them back in a place they just came from. So the inspections process is important, but we also know there's a lot of people who are kind of lined up on the runway trying to get a place. So we're going to try to do what we can to make that happen."
In helping individuals find affordable places to live, Turlington and City councilwoman Sharon Hightower said they also want to prevent the Heritage House's history of crime from following the tenants to their new homes.
Hightower said, "What we will do is we will do case management on every person we move out. We will continue to monitor their status for the next few (six to nine) months to make sure they're getting settled in. This is also to ensure the landlords that we are moving forward and not just moving them out and moving away from the situation."
Several of the tenants say they blame the Heritage House's 50 landlords, whom the City said failed to pay utility bills and make necessary repairs to the building. Turlington said the City attempted to negotiate a payment plan with the Homeowner's Association, but the Association did not partake in discussions.
The City said Greensboro police will monitor the facility for several days, to avoid looters. The City said one tenant already has been arrested for attempting to steal a copper pipe, and the City wants to avoid other instances of theft.
The City is allowing tenants to come back, with police escorts, to Heritage House Aug. 1 and Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to move out the remainder of their belongings.
The City is referring individuals still seeking permanent housing to call the City at 373-CITY (2489). They also can contact Beth McKee Huger at the Greensboro Housing Coalition by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, they can e-mail Lisa Tayler at New Jerusalem Cathedral at email@example.com.