STATESVILLE, N.C. — A motel manager in Statesville has made it her mission to help struggling families find affordable homes. And she was successful. But then the pandemic hit and the need for help tripled.
She showed Channel 9’s Brittney Johnson how she’s working to meet the challenge.
We first introduced you to Denise Sharrow in October 2019. She manages the Brookwood Inn, a motel off Interstate 40 in Statesville that dozens of families call home.
And when some fell behind on their payments, Sharrow raised money to help cover their costs through her Facebook page, Acts of Kindness Ministry. She even helps some find permanent housing.
"Before all of this things are going pretty well. I would say under the circumstances, I would consider it a success rate because even one family that leaves -- that’s success to me,” Sharrow said.
Since our last report, Sharrow said a grandmother named Sally and her granddaughter had moved into a home, but the COVID-19 crisis quickly cost many others their jobs and ability to pay.
“And then when the stimulus checks started to come. I had myself and two other people gave our entire check. I had someone give half,” Sharrow said.
Given the need, that money got used up quickly. But the need persists. While some wait for unemployment, for others, there’s no relief in sight.
Currently, there are about 54 rooms at Brookwood that are occupied. But about 15 of those are behind in payments and most of those rooms are filled with families.
Sharrow said some owe as much as $1,200.
“We try to do everything we can. But there comes a point where if you don’t make enough money to pay the bills, it’s not a matter of kicking them out. It’s a matter of not being open. It’s a matter of those who do pay having nowhere to go,” she said.
As long as the motel breaks even, they’re open. Thanks to donations she’s about to provide meals and activities for children and she’s not removing longtime guests who may be considered tenants under the law. But the state’s moratorium on evictions ends in June.
Concerned about what would happen to families with mounting debt, Sharrow continues raising money online and holding bible studies to help families keep their faith.
“God is always in control. I try my best not to worry about what's going to happen tomorrow or a month from now. Today we have a place to sleep enough to eat. We are OK today,” Sharrow said.
Regardless of whether you live in a motel or apartment, if you need help paying your rent, call 211. You can learn more about rental assistance programs in your area.
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