Wake County officials have begun efforts to help residents of a Garner subsidized apartment complex who face drastically increased rents and possible eviction
Commissioners first got word of the situation Monday when activist Octavia Rainey led a group of more than two dozen residents of Forest Hills Apartments to voice complaints at a Board of Commissioners meeting. ECP LLC, a Chapel Hill company, has sent letters to residents to let them know that they must either start paying market-rate rent on April 1—as much as five times the subsidized cost—or move out of the apartments.
County commissioner Greg Ford said Wednesday that the situation at Forest Hills apartments demands attention from his fellow elected officials and from staff at various county departments.
"First and foremost, there's an immediate need," Ford told the INDY
. "As [residents] said, they will be homeless in a few weeks. It's a good test of our resolve, to meet the real needs of people. And to put some walk in the talk."
Ford is an alternate board member for Alliance Behavioral Healthcare, the agency that provides mental, developmental, and substance-abuse services for low-income Wake County residents. Several Alliance clients are among residents who face losing their apartments at Forest Hills. Ford said he will explore with Alliance officials the question of new placements for their clients.
County officials will also take part in finding housing for other Forest Hills residents, Ford said.
A call to Eller Capital Partners principal Daniel Eller wasn't immediately returned Wednesday. A call Tuesday to the manager who sent first-class letters to residents notifying them of the change in policies has not been returned either.
"In purchasing Forest Hills Apartments, ECP has made the business decision to completely renovate and rehabilitate the community and its individual apartment homes; as such, Forest Hills will not be renewing any expired lease agreements, nor continuing month to month terms," the letter to residents read.