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Greenville renter says she’s being forced to move out because she used state COVID-19 funding

Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 7:57 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - A Greenville renter says she has been told to move out of her apartment complex next month because she received financial assistance on her rental payments.

The renter, Nandi Barton, says she has paid her rent in full and on time since she started renting from Legacy at Fire Tower in September of 2020.

At that time, Barton moved to Greenville looking for a fresh start.

“Being a woman of color, you have that fear, that internal fear,” Barton said. “I was just coming here for my children to have a better life.”

In August of 2021, Barton’s job asked her to transition out of a remote position and into in-person shifts, something she couldn’t accommodate. She lost her job.

Soon after, she got sick with COVID-19.

Barton says she remembered a note on her rental payment submission form in the past.

“I had seen the resources that said: If you are having struggles due to COVID-19, you can use this program,” Barton said.

She then applied for the HOPE Program funds, which were available to households impacted by the virus who were struggling with rent and utility payments.

Knowing her lease would soon be up, Barton says she reached out to the property to find out the terms of a renewal.

Later, she received a notice at her door saying her unit was undergoing a “management non-renewal due to receiving financial assistance.”

When asked why this was the reason for a non-renewal, Legacy at Firetower said, ”Ownership has discretion whether to renew a lease and they chose not to.”

Barton says she’s fortunate to have a good-paying job now, but not everyone that used those funds is in the same boat.

“If I was to hear that it was done to somebody else in this complex, I would still want to move,” Barton said.

She wonders who else may be displaced. That question could cause the same headache that Barton is experiencing for thousands of renters.

In North Carolina, the HOPE Program provided more than $745 million in rent and utility payments for those in need.

Across the country, at the height of the COVID-19 rental payment program, nearly half a million households received financial assistance each month.

According to the documents that Barton says she’s received from her apartment building, she has until March 27th to leave her apartment. However, she says her rent is paid through May.

The WITN team will continue to investigate these claims.

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