Moving day creates stress for many at Market North Apartments

Moving day creates stress for many at Market North Apartments

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Fighting a deadline all day, residents of Market North Apartments dealt with the stresses of moving Monday, but luckily, they got some help.

On Oct. 7, Market North residents were informed they had to vacate the property. Oct. 15 was the first deadline day, but that was extended to Oct. 22.

They will be gone for at least 180 days while Market North Apartments are repaired after being damaged during Hurricane Florence.

"I've lived here for 10 years," resident Melissa Pinkoski said. "This is home. This is comfortable to me. It's been so stressful."

Residents put the finishing touches on their move out of Market North Apartments.
Residents put the finishing touches on their move out of Market North Apartments. ((Source: WECT))

That stress was evident Monday as some residents frantically packed up their belongings. More than 700 people live in the community, and more than 75 places at Market North were still occupied on Monday.

"This has been a dire situation," said Annie Anthony, CEO of the Cape Fear Volunteer Center. "These people don't have much family. They don't have cars. They were not expecting to have to move on such short notice,"

The volunteers have been a godsend, according to residents like Pinkoski, who wouldn’t have been able to afford a U-Haul for the move.

"It's a blessing," Pinkoski said. "I am having to take time off work to make this happen. It's so emotional too.

“Luckily, I have found an apartment to go to, but I’ve heard many people have no place to go.”

Anthony said the volunteer center has been able to assist Market North residents with temporary housing and the Red Cross reserved 300 beds for displaced residents.

“By the grace of God and donations, we have been moving people all month,” said Anthony. “But even today, some people are unsure where they will go. Some are living on couches. Some are staying with friends.”

Market North Apartments residents had to move out by Monday.
Market North Apartments residents had to move out by Monday. ((Source: WECT))

Gail Smith was one of the 75 residents still in her Market North dwelling Monday. She said she had no idea where she would stay Monday night.

"I feel we have just been forgotten and left behind," Smith said. "I wish they could put us up in hotels. I have a storage unit but that's about it."

Market North management released an update on Monday that read, in part:

To help with the move, we are offering an additional $1,000 to residents on top of any FEMA assistance for which they may qualify if they are able to move in this time frame ($500 of which will be given to them before fully moving out to help with expenses, the other $500 given to them upon fully moving out). This is not a HUD requirement, but management has deemed this stipend is important to make the temporary transition as smooth as possible. Currently, a resident of almost every unit has picked up their initial $500. ... We have brought in 50 additional team members onsite to assist our residents with anything they need to relocate. We have opened up the main office on the property for residents to come and ask any questions about the move. We also have a team of social service coordinators who are working individually with each resident to submit their FEMA claims and find a new residence, whether it be at one of our other properties or somewhere else. ... It’s our goal to be quick in our responses to the community and cognizant of our residents’ needs and concerns through this temporary relocation. We fully understand how difficult this is for our residents, and we are working every day to engage other non-profits and stakeholders to assist. We welcome any and all help in this effort.

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