The Housing Authority of Winston-Salem (HAWS) manages properties that house some of the community's poorest residents, many of whom are at-risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Officials at HAWS say they have already closed community-gathering spaces and sent out coronavirus information to residents via fliers and email.

Crystal Towers, which houses the elderly and people with disabilities in a high-rise apartment building, has specific challenges. In the event of a COVID-19 case emerging there, HAWS would rely on that resident privately self-identifying, with increased sanitization procedures to follow.

HAWS residents experiencing loss of income will not need to show documents to prove their employment status until further notice. This is significant as most of the property's rental amounts are income-based.

Executive Director Kevin Cheshire says that while the expectation is that residents will pay their rent, there is a need for leniency.

“This is a unique time and unique circumstance,” Cheshire says. “So, we are not sending any lease termination notices out for any non-payment of rent, prospectively. We're seeing an impact on incomes collectively, and we're trying to be responsive to that.”

At this time, maintenance requests will only be fulfilled if they are of a health and safety nature. Members of the HAWS team are working remotely and are encouraging residents to contact them via phone or email.

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here.


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