Lumberton public housing residents forced out of homes by flood damage

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LUMBERTON, N.C.  — Some public housing residents in Lumberton are scrambling to find a new place to live after being told to pack up and go.

The housing authority plans to renovate homes damaged by Hurricane Matthew’s flooding, but the next step in the process has some upset.

Tasha Freeman isn’t happy about a letter she got at her home Tuesday.

“You are asked to gather your belongings immediately,” it reads. “Any items remaining in your unit will be removed and disposed of by (Housing Authority of the City of Lumberton) staff on Friday, October 21.”

That means she has days to move her tables, televisions and dressers.

“I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy,” she said.

The housing authority’s executive director said he wanted to make sure the letter conveyed a sense of urgency.

“We wanted to make sure they understood that it’s urgent, and we will work with them within reason,” Larry Russell said.

While the deadline is Friday, residents should talk to housing authorities if they need more time, he said.

Freeman has already thrown out some of her furniture in a bid to meet the deadline. Now, she says, she has to figure out where to go.

“I have lost everything,” she said. “I’ve been here for five years. I don’t know nothing else besides this.”

The housing authority says some families might get rental assistance, but who will get it and how much they’ll get will be left up to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.