How Charlotte, Meck County are helping those behind on rent or facing eviction

CHARLOTTE — Roughly 2,600 eviction cases are waiting to be heard in Mecklenburg County, but if you’re behind on rent or facing eviction, there’s help available to keep a roof over your head.

Channel 9 anchor Allison Latos took a closer look at how Charlotte is trying to prevent more families from ending up on the streets.

The city has a dispute settlement program -- a team of people -- who work to mediate some court cases like landlord/tenant issues before they end in evictions.

With the eviction moratorium over, calls into their office have doubled.

One man told Channel 9 that without their help, he was about to lose his apartment. Albert Wynn moved to Huntersville from Cleveland, Ohio just before the pandemic hit -- and his fresh start quickly turned into a struggle to pay his rent.

Four months behind and desperate for help, he turned to Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s dispute settlement program, where Mary Williams and her team try to help tenants and landlords reach agreements.

“When someone is one month behind or two months behind, or they’re having a repair issue or security deposit issue, we can work on it on the front end,” Williams said.

Her office has mediated or conciliated 100 eviction cases, negotiating payment plans and late fees.

“We had a tenant on the verge of getting padlocked out of a hotel room,” she told Channel 9.

They’ve also helped more than 150 families so far apply for $375,000 in rental assistance through partners like Ramp CLT, Good Fellows Club and Crisis Assistance Ministry.

“I see daylight and that agency helped me,” Wynn told Channel 9.

He said the program helped him get financial assistance -- and the hope he needed to keep trying.

“They didn’t clear my bill but they gave me enough to fight, just a little push sometimes,” he said. “Ain’t no shame in falling down. There’s shame in not trying to get back up.”

The dispute settlement team members are physically present in civil court rooms to help work with landlords and tenants. You don’t have to wait until an eviction has been filed against you to get their help, and it’s free for residents living in Mecklenburg County.

>> LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROGRAM HERE.

(WATCH BELOW: Mecklenburg County sheriff’s deputies serve evictions after moratorium ends)