Winston-Salem officials are ordering tenants at two city-owned buildings to leave their homes indefinitely so repairs can be made. Advocates say the move could force some into homelessness and questioned the city’s motivations.

On Monday, the city sent letters to residents of 1200 Willie Davis Drive and 1635 N. Cleveland Ave ordering them to vacate their apartments by May 31, so that city officials could assess and repair the 50-year old buildings. 

The letter said the properties had not undergone significant renovations in 30 years. Records show that’s around the same time the city took ownership of the buildings.

Residents were offered relocation packages and given about a week to decide whether to accept them. No details were provided about when residents could return, or if rent would remain the same after repairs were completed. 

Advocates from Housing Justice Now packed Monday’s city council meeting to express their concerns. Among them was Daniel Rose, who questioned whether comparably priced housing would be available for those displaced. 

“There is no housing in Winston-Salem at $420, $450 a month for a one-bedroom in decent quality," said Rose. "There is no reason to put them out to inspect that property. Code Enforcement comes in all the time with residents in place.”

The city did not respond directly to WFDD’s questions about why residents needed to leave their homes to allow for repairs or inspections. But in a statement, Spokesperson Frank Elliott said that city officials have heard residents’ concerns and that they are “looking at other options.”


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