Ina startling turnaround, residents of Forest Hills apartments in Garner—who faced skyrocketing rents and eviction—will have until June 15 to find new homes, says Wake County Board of Commissioners chairman Sig Hutchinson.
LateFriday afternoon, Hutchinson told the INDY that Wake officials have worked with Chapel Hill developer Daniel Eller to allow residents of the complex to remain until Wake County public schools are out to find new housing. Untilthen, the residents will continue to pay federally subsidized rates at the complex some have called home for thirty-five years. In addition, Wake officials will work with Forest Hills residents to find new homes for them.
“We’ve worked it out so that everyone will be able to stay in their units past the end of school. June 15, with the ability to continue their subsidies,” Hutchinson said. “We’re putting together an action team to help rehouse these folks.”
Eller’s company, Eller Capital Properties, had sent letters to residents telling them they would have to pay drastically increased rents, then vacate the property at the end of April. In a Friday night email to the INDY, Eller confirmed Hutchinson’s account of the new arrangements. “There is really no notable change in our plans other than that we agreed with several people who raised concerns about residents having to relocate prior to the end of the current school year and the impact this could have on students,” Eller wrote. “It is a valid concern so we addressed it.”
ECP will maintain involvement with Forest Hills residents, Eller wrote: “We have been and will continue to work very closely with the Raleigh and Wake Housing Authorities to coordinate an orderly moving process for the residents.”
Earlier Friday, Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams and community activist Octavia Rainey had confirmed the deal.
“That’s a big turnaround that it is happening,” said Rainey, whose appearance Monday before the Wake County Board of Commissioners appeared to spark Wake’s action. “Do you know why he did it? The pressure is on.”
Hutchinson said that Eller plans to renovate the property at 917 Seventh Avenue for workforce housing at market rates. Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include Daniel Eller’s response.