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CAPE FEAR MEMORIAL BRIDGE: Updates, resources, and context

Eleven more displaced families moving home this week, according to WHA

WHA made the announcement during a community meeting at Hillcrest, one of the properties affected by the mold crisis.
Grace Vitaglione
WHA made the announcement during a community meeting at Hillcrest, one of the properties affected by the mold crisis.

Eleven more families displaced by the mold crisis at the Wilmington Housing Authority will move back home by the end of this week, according to WHA staff.

Staff made the announcement during a community meeting today at Hillcrest, one of the WHA properties affected by the mold crisis.

This leaves 28 families still displaced.

Executive Director Tyrone Garrett said the agency plans to have those 28 families moved out of hotels and into a unit of “some permanency” by the end of March.

Last fall, Garrett told area officials he planned to have all families back in their homes by the end of 2022. He has since told WHQR he’s more confident WHA will hit this updated deadline.

There’s additional pressure on WHA to get the families home, because New Hanover County will stop funding hotels for displaced residents during March, said Garrett.

The county said that funding came from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which county staff had worked extensively to enroll WHA residents in, but those dollars would run out soon—hence the cutoff in March.

He said the current focus is wrapping up extra work orders on the remaining units.

Garrett also gave an update on an upcoming grant from the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency, or NCORR. NCORR is overseeing a rehabilitation project at Woodbridge, another WHA property affected by the mold crisis.

Before WHA can get that grant from NCORR for the project, Garrett said they need to finish paperwork required by the agency for the funding to come down.

Woodbridge residents will not be in hotels until those units are done, Garrett said. Instead, they’ll be moving from a public housing unit, residential building, or corporate apartment into a unit at Woodbridge.

At Hillcrest, Garrett said conversations are ongoing with developers about redeveloping that property.

Grace is a multimedia journalist recently graduated from American University. She's attracted to issues of inequity and her reporting has spanned racial disparities in healthcare, immigration detention and college culture. In the past, she's investigated ICE detainee deaths at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, worked on an award-winning investigative podcast, and produced student-led video stories.