As I understand it, Edenbridge Apartments in Morehead City NC are HUD Section 8 housing units for the elderly who were asked to leave their homes after Hurricane Florence damaged the roof causing health concerns from mold. The apartment complex is owned by East Carolina Community Development Inc out of Beaufort NC, who just secured funds to complete repairs on the senior housing complex but displaced residents are now in jeopardy of losing their voucher subsidy because of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations that say you can only be vacant from your subsidized housing for 180 days, or you will be removed from assistance.
Clarification: Asking residents to leave happened shortly after the hurricane. The point of this article is to bring light to the 180 day regulation that is now affecting these residents.
Given that housing issues in Carteret County communities like Morehead City are already at a critical level after Hurricane Florence, there are no Section 8 housing opportunities in the area for these low income or fixed income seniors to transition to. And, if they do not secure Section 8 housing by the 180 deadline then it could be an entire year before they can reapply to the program.
We also understand that Coastal Community Action in Newport NC is helping Edenbridge Apartments residents with their HUD vouchers but can do nothing because of government regulations.
If my summation is correct, this is a complete failure on so many levels that I do not know where to begin. I understand hurricane damage and mold. I understand, and am thankful for housing vouchers for low income seniors. I am thankful for Coastal Community Action and the HUD program.
In addition to addressing this issue, does anyone have any figures on new homelessness in Carteret County and Morehead City that are directly attributed to Hurricane Florence? Of people being displaced because of damage, how many are senior citizens in subsidized housing? How many are vulnerable families with minors?
I have no doubt that Family Promise, Hope Mission, and area Churches are doing everything they can, is this just a matter of these organizations and agencies being overwhelmed, or is this literally just an issue of the lack of low income Section 8 housing in the area?
Does HUD not have federal powers to designate 50 or 60 local motel rooms as low income homes temporarily so that these displaced families can stay local? Surely, these motel owners would welcome the off-season tenancy.
This issue with Edenbridge Apartments likely caught many off guard after the hurricane, but there was a shortage of low income housing already in the county before the storm.
We have to address this today.
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