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‘I’m not going back on the streets’ | Charlotte couple fearful of eviction once the moratorium ends this month

Johnny and Sarah Waldo overcame homelessness last year, but now they’re struggling to make rent payments in the midst of the pandemic.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Starting Jan.1, 2021, landlords will once again be able to legally evict tenants for failure to pay rent. This fate is a fear for many residents now left scrambling to see how they can make the rent payment and make ends meet before the eviction moratorium comes to an end.

Charlotte residents Johnny and Sarah Waldo are concerned soon enough they won't have a place to call home. It’s a reality they’ve previously dealt with when facing homeless for more than a year.

“I have problems with my hip and I was sleeping on the ground with my husband in a tent,” Sarah said.

Eventually, the two were able to get a source of income along with help from Urban Ministries in order to be able to afford to rent a home. For the first part of the year, the Waldos said they had no problem paying their rent on time and in full. 

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That is until they fell on hard times, and reached out to the landlord for a compromise.

“I told him I can make payments because I’m not going back on the streets no more,” Sarah said.

The Waldos said the property management would not agree to a payment plan and instead sent a letter that stating by Jan. 31, they will be expected to vacate the property. 

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WCNC Charlotte tried contacting property management with multiple attempts for comment but have yet to hear back.

Experts at Legal Aid of North Carolina say with the eviction moratorium right around the corner, there’s not much help left for renters.

 “Unfortunately, the law is very limited in terms of defenses for non-payment for rent, “Legal Aid of North Carolina representative Scheree Gilchrist said.

The Hope Program is one resource available to assist residents with rent payments, but the application window for that assistance has already closed. Those who were successfully able to apply now have the opportunity to receive eviction protection for the next three months if the landlord signs off on it.

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“It is a financial issue, but it’s also a public health issue so if there’s a way to work with tenants to keep them stable for the public health part of it I think it will be a huge benefit, “Gilchrist said.

If you happen to have a housing crisis, give 211 a call for some help.