Clock Ticking for Lake Arbor Residents Looking for New Place to Live

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The clock is ticking for hundreds of residents at a West Charlotte apartment complex.

People living in 78 units at the Lake Arbor Apartments must be out by Saturday – but many still don’t know where they’ll go.

“They just throwing you out of your apartments over there. It’s not right, it’s not right,” says former resident Jasmine Johnson.

She came home to a padlock in July and hasn’t had a permanent home since.

“It’s hard when you don’t know where you’re going to sleep at night. It’s hard when you don’t know how you’re going to feed your child and stuff like that,” Johnson explains.

Now she’s worried about 78 more families being forced to leave Lake Arbor on Saturday. The owner plans to “rehabilitate” the complex after months of complaints about poor conditions.

Residents say they’ve applied for emergency housing help but haven’t heard back.

“This is a public health crisis. We have children in CMS who are losing their homes on the very first week of school,” says activist Bree Newsome Bass.

Members of the Housing Justice Coalition rallied on Wednesday night. They’re looking for people to help move residents or find them places to live.

A nearby motel, the Southern Comfort Inn, is offering discounted rates to former Lake Arbor residents.

General Manager Traci Canterbury worries about what will happen to people there.

“The shelters are full. It’s really hard to get shelters, especially families who have kids. You don’t want to see them on the street,” Canterbury explains.

She knows the affordable housing crisis firsthand, with so many people being forced to move into motels.

“If you’re making $741 a month and you’re on fixed income, where are you going to move to? There’s no housing in Charlotte that you can move to,” Canterbury says.

It’s not the first displacement issue in Charlotte. In 2013, hundreds of families were given short notice to leave the former Silver Oak Apartments in East Charlotte, which were replaced with luxury apartments.

Advocates say this type of thing should not happen in Charlotte.

“We have to stop this pattern. And stop people being pushed out,” Bass says.