Nonprofits Working to Help Belmont Apartments Tenants Locate New Homes
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A pair of nonprofits in Charlottesville is stepping in to help dozens of people being forced out of their homes with less than a month left on their leases to find housing.
Just weeks ago, people living at Belmont Apartments were told they have until May 5 to pack up and leave.
Many people have called these apartments home for decades, and now they're being forced to move so new property managers can renovate the apartments.
Tenants say they expect the owner to re-rent at higher prices.
Thomas Holden is one member of this group of people that has less than a month to move out of his Charlottesville apartment.
“It's been a week-to-week, month-to-month struggle,” Holden said.
On top of trying to pack with his poor eyesight, he's searching for a new home.
But now, a nonprofit is stepping in to help with some of the baggage.
“It's like a thousand pounds have been lifted off me,” Holden said.
The Alliance for Interfaith Ministries (AIM) is bearing some of the costs for a new place.
“We are actually assisting with rent, first month’s rent, and security deposits,” Kimberly Fontaine, the director of AIM, said.
They're helping out Holden and many others who are being displaced from Belmont Apartments.
The recent lease termination notice came as a surprise to many of the tenants.
“The first letter said that the new company came in to make new rent checks out with the new company name and to drop them off,” Holden said.
But just five days later, things weren’t looking so benign.
“Everyone receives a letter in the mail stating that our leases are no longer valid as of May 5 and we're being evicted,” Holden said.
Fontaine says she receives on average 10 calls a day from people like Holden who are looking for help throughout this process.
“It can be very difficult to try and pack up their lives in two months and move to a new place, let alone trying to find a place that’s affordable and livable in our region,” Fontaine said.
Despite the constant struggle, the nonprofit is doing what it can to ease some of the financial burden.
“For someone in my position, that's quite amazing,” Holden said.
Still, Holden and others are left searching for a new place to call home before the new property managers begin their renovations.
“Good people are affected by his actions and I'll pray for him,” Holden said.
The Legal Aid Justice Center is also stepping in to help, and it's representing some of the tenants at Belmont Apartments.
The nonprofit says it’s currently negotiating with the new property owner, Drew Holtzwarth, about the terminated leases.
A property manager on site confirmed they are in negotiations and new rent prices after renovations have yet to be set.