A can of roach bomb was the only item left in a vacant living room at Lincoln Apartments. In a parking lot off Wabash Street, mattresses were stacked in the bed of a pick-up truck. Stuffed suitcases rested in an upstairs hallway.
Tenants were moving from their homes earlier this month after the Lincoln Foundation, which owns the low-income housing complex, announced Sept. 29 that it could no longer afford the utilities and maintenance costs. All residents were to leave by Oct. 31.
However, residents recently learned they could stay in their homes through the end of the year. Lincoln Hospital Foundation President Larry Suitt has agreed to let the residents remain in their homes during that time as long as they pay their rent in full each month.
And last week, Housing for New Hope, a Durham nonprofit organization, announced it is helping residents find homes, secure moving trucks and pay utility and rent deposits.
Terry Allebaugh, executive director of Housing for New Hope, says his organization has raised $5,000 in private funding to help Lincoln residents. The nonprofit is seeking community donations to match that amount.
Housing for New Hope's rapid rehousing program, which was funded by federal stimulus money, ended in August. The program was designed to prevent homelessness. However, the program could restart in January if Durham City Council approves a $300,000 allocation—federal money that is administered by the city. Council is scheduled to vote on the request Dec. 17.
"We hope this has good outcomes," Allebaugh says. "But it still calls attention to the lack of affordable housing. It's important we take stock of this. We need long-range solutions here."