CHARLOTTE — A housing complex in north Charlotte is nearly 50 years old and can’t be retrofitted for central air, washers, dryers or dishwashers.
Instead of repairing it, Charlotte’s housing authority, Inlivian, will demolish the 36 buildings on more than 17 acres on North Pine Street.
When you walk around Dillehay Courts, the complex shows its age; it’s pretty obvious why it’s going to be torn down and why residents have to move. A new development could create a better life for those living in the complex, but some of the people Channel 9 spoke to this week expressed angst and worry because moving is costly -- not just in terms of dollars and cents.
It’s the cost of losing a way of life many are used to when you consider the adjustment to a new location in potentially another part of town.
Dillehay Courts will someday be replaced with more than 140 brand new, affordable units. The design mimics some of the luxury apartments many experts say are pricing out Charlotte’s poorest residents.
It’s a huge difference when you look at the existing property, built in 1972. Over the decades, Channel 9 has covered tragedies driven by high crime and other maintenance problems at the complex. In February, the complex’s septic tanks overflowed.
Families who know they’ll have to move are finding it difficult in these trying times of a pandemic.
Tracy Cooper said she has lived in Dillehay Courts for six years.
“If that’s what they’re deciding to do then that’s what they are deciding to do. But you need to take care of your residents,” Cooper said.
>> In the video at the top of this webpage, anchor Blaine Tolison speaks with residents, who are anxious and worried about having to move during these uncertain times.
Cooper isn’t working and told Channel 9′s Blaine Tolison that, for now, she’s watching her two kids who are at home, instead of in school.
The uncertainty of moving is difficult for her, but she also worries about her neighbors; including many seniors.
“When you uproot from here, go somewhere else, that’s a whole other life, that’s a whole other world,” Cooper said.
She also doesn’t know if vouchers will necessarily guarantee an affordable cost of living.
“If you move them into another housing project, you need to make sure they can pay their bills there,” she said.
Inlivian, which was formerly known as the Charlotte Housing Authority, said the process of relocating residents began in 2017. Families in 36 buildings will have to move, but there’s no exact date yet, making it even more challenging for families.
Cheron Porter, a spokeswoman for Inlivian, said they will help them through that transition, which could even involve packing and physically moving if needed.
“We’ll do all that, so we’re going to really help our residents be in the best possible and at some places, have choices they didn’t have before,” Porter said.
Porter also said no one at the complex will be homeless as a result of the transition, and residents can come back to the new development and would be among the first to get placed in the new units.
The vision falls in line with the statement etched into signs for Dillehay Courts, which say “Moving Forward.” But families want to see the process play out and a timeline for the move to feel comfortable moving forward
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