Saturday, July 13, 2024

All 150 displaced families returned to permanent housing

One-hundred and fifty families displaced from their homes due to a mold crisis have all finally been returned back to permanent housing. (Port City Daily/file)

WILMINGTON — The local public housing authority has hit a major milestone, though a few months behind its original timeline.

Wilmington Housing Authority CEO Tyrone Garrett announced Friday that all families displaced from their apartments due to mold growth have now returned home. One-hundred and fifty families, about 400 individuals, were removed from their WHA homes. They were temporarily living in hotels, corporate apartments or with family members.

READ MORE: 73 families still waiting for homes, WHA pushes goal to remediate all moldy units to spring

Garrett, who took the helm May 2022, hoped to have everyone back home by the end of 2022, but only about half were able to return by then. He also told Port City Daily in December, about one-fifth of the households decided to take advantage of housing choice vouchers instead of moving back into a WHA unit.

While families had been temporarily rehoused for over a year, remediation on the moldy housing units began this summer. Garrett set a goal to renovate 25 of the nearly 200 units each month to turn back online. The city and county loaned more than $3 million to assist with the capital projects and WHA also received a $2 million grant.

WHA hit a financial crunch last year after doling out millions of dollars toward stipends and housing for the displaced residents. The county stepped in to help with rental pay through its Emergency Rental Assistance Program and WHA cut per diems in half.

The first 13 families moved home in July and Garrett has been working to re-house the others since. WHA staff from the property management, maintenance and housing choice voucher program departments assisted with the efforts of getting everyone home.

Catch up on previous WHA coverage here.

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