BURLINGTON, N.C. — It was Monday morning and Sasha Watts was up early to get her two young boys ready for church camp. Watts set out their clothes for the day and started to get breakfast items. It seems normal, but sometimes you must see it to truly understand it.
Watts and her kids were sharing a small hotel room off I-40 in Burlington. The breakfast was a recently purchased box of Cap’n Crunch and the decision on the clothes came down to a few recently purchased shorts and shirts at a Walmart, “I’m doing what I can but it’s not easy,” said Watts.
About two weeks ago the home the family had been living in for almost three years caught fire. It appears the fire started at an electrical outlet in the kitchen and then spread from there. The house wasn’t destroyed but most everything Watts and the kids had was burned or severely damaged by smoke, “I couldn’t save anything, we lost everything,” said Watts.
The family has been staying in a hotel for the past couple of weeks. The Red Cross covered the cost for week one and Watts paid for a second week as she went looking for a new home. Watts was making it work but their money was running out, “This room cost around $300 a week,” said Watts. An in-home health care provider Watts only works a couple of hours a day and makes only about $150 a week.
The house that caught fire was through section 8 housing and Watts was able to find a new apartment to move into. The issue is that all section 8 properties need to be inspected and that inspection wasn’t scheduled until the end of this week, “I need to be out of the hotel on Tuesday,” said Watts.
Unable to afford another week, Watts wasn’t sure what she was going to do come Tuesday night, “I don’t know, I’m all out of funds,” said Watts.
She reached out to WFMY News 2 unsure what she was going to do come this past Tuesday. We reached out to the Graham Housing Authority in hopes of finding a solution. One of the House Service Specialists called us back and agreed to investigate the situation.
While Watts waited for an answer, she was trying to figure out what her recourse was with her landlord. Watts says she called and sent a letter explaining the sockets in her bedroom and bathroom needed repair. Watts claims the sockets were “popping” and she was worried it could start a fire.
The issue is that Watts let her renter’s insurance lapse and according to the landlord renter’s insurance is required per the lease agreement. A company that deals with landlord renters’ disputes told us that a signed contract is binding but stopped short of saying Watts did not have a claim against the landlord.
The good news was that Graham Housing was able to get an inspector out to the new property on Tuesday morning and Watts and her kids were able to move into their new apartment. The family has also set up a GoFundMe page.