March 26, 2007
Hundreds of people may soon be searching for a new place to call home in just a matter of days, that is unless some local churches can reach their goal of raising $12,000.
The policy is pretty much the same for residents of public housing like Crescent Hills. However, a new timeline says if rent hasn't been paid and a repayment agreement hasn't been signed by the end of the month, there is no second chance, and that's got almost 300 people facing eviction.
"We all are working hard to try to make a better life for ourselves, and we want to be able to have somewhere to live," said Sherri Clark, neighbor.
Clarke is concerned, not for herself, but for her fellow public housing neighbors. More than 280 people face eviction from their public housing homes this month because of debt.
"They do want to pay their rent, they've just fallen on hard times," said Clarke.
That's got several leaders in the religious community calling on all Charlottesville residents for help.
"We are the ones, the people of Charlottesville, generally speaking the congregations, to do something about this. It's very tangible, it's concrete, and it's right here, so lets do it," said Sam Massey of the First Presbyterian Church.
The goal is to raise $12,500 by the end of the week, not to give those residents a handout, but to offer budget management classes and other activities to help those in debt clear their names.
"They will also have to probably make a contribution of some sort to receive the balance of what they owe, so that it's just not giving them money but that they have to have some kind of ownership in the process," said Alvin Edwards, Pastor of Mt. Zion African Baptist Church.
And that sits well with those responsible for handling the evictions.
"I'm blown away by the generosity of the religious and faith-based community to come in and gather these resources together to help our residents" said Noah Schwartz, Redevelopment Housing Authority.
A total of $25,000 is needed to help these residents keep their homes, and so far, only half of that has been raised. If you would like to help, all contributions are being accepted by Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church in Charlottesville.