Charlotte woman worries about eviction during coronavirus crisis

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Patricia Abdelwahab is used to lending a helping hand, but now she finds herself as the one who needs a hand up from the Second Harvest Food Bank and Crisis Assistance Ministry in Charlotte.

“If you can’t work, you can’t pay your bills,” she said.

Water and utility companies are not disconnecting service for people who can’t pay, but Abdelwahab and her roommate can’t afford the $1,400 rent they split every month with businesses scaling back to follow overcrowding guidelines. She works for Walmart; her roommate is an Uber driver.

“We’re getting rental assistance due to the coronavirus,” she said.

A letter from her property management company says if they don’t pay in full by Tuesday, the apartment complex will start the eviction process.

"I had to bring all kinds of paperwork. I’m just worried, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Abdelwahab added.

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office sent a statement reiterating it will continue to evict tenants if ordered by the court. However, the courts are running on a limited schedule due to the coronavirus outbreak, meaning there is a chance that if Abdelwahab can’t pay, the case may be delayed.

While the lines outside Crisis Assistance Ministry are shorter because of social distancing rules and added financial relief from utility companies, they are anticipating an even greater need in the near future.

“We know that utilities are still being used and people’s incomes are still being challenged. The need in three or four months from now will be incredible,” said Carol Hardison, CEO of Crisis Assistance Ministry.