How Wake County is working to curb a potential surge in evictions

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – It’s tough for Suzanne Orozco to read through the applications.

“People are writing their statements and it’s heartbreaking, but on the flip side, where we can help stabilize somebody, it’s really rewarding,” Orozco said.

Orozco is the CEO of Telamon Corporation. Its mission is to help people maintain housing. Since late September, Telamon has partnered with Wake County on a program called House Wake.

“It’s a three-tier intervention that the county put in place to help prevent evictions,” Orozco explained.

The program helps tenants and landlords financially by covering rent shortfalls. It also provides legal services to tenants and helps them find other places to live.

According to Wake County, as of November, 1,034 people have applied.

“We were looking at more like 3,000 from the beginning to the end of December, but it got a slow start,” Orozco said.

Earlier this year, the CDC issued a federal order that is supposed to prohibit evictions. However, that expires at the end of December.

In October, Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order adding to it by clarifying that the order applies to all eligible North Carolinians.

Cooper also launched a program that provides financial assistance to renters.

Now, heading into the final weeks of the year, Orozco hopes those who need help really think about applying.

“Some of them are applying saying, ‘I only need this one month,’ and we are like, ‘No, no, no. Let us help you stabilize,'” Orozco said.

According to the rental website Zumper, the average price for a one-bedroom apartment in Raleigh is more than $1,100.

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