Hurricane Florence Turns A DCLT Relocation into An Apartment Blessing

Nakia Hodges has lived in one of DCLT’s 2 bedroom Morehead Glen apartments with her son Caleb (age 5) and her daughter Johnessia (age 17) for over four years. Developed in 1995, Morehead Glen is a four-building, 20 townhouse-style rental apartment complex in the Greater West End. It rents to residents who earn 60% of Area Median Income (or $39,600 or under for a family of three). Nakia works as a social worker, a Discharge Planner at the R.J. Blackley Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center in Butner, NC. It was actually Nakia’s sister, Sharika Winston, a long-term DCLT resident of 10 years, who recommended Nakia get on DCLT’s rental wait list.

That was over five years ago.

Once they move in, most DCLT residents stay. It is a coveted opportunity to live in an attractive convenient, energy efficient home where rents stay relatively consistent and affordable.

During Hurricane Florence, Nakia’s home suffered flood damage. Morehead Glen was built near a stream, at the low end of Rock Street. During heavy rains, the street becomes a channel of rushing water that overflows the curbs and culverts. Unfortunately, four Morehead Glen apartments experienced flooding.

Water came up to the windows and rushed in through the front and back doors. Nakia and Johnessie unplugged appliances and in a panic, called Marcia Rogers, DCLT’s Manager of Properties and Sales. “I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. It was super stressful. Talking to Marcia helped ease my mind,” said Nakia Hodges.

Marcia immediately responded to Nakia’s call, helped pack up their things, and checked the family into a hotel. Growing up in Durham, Marcia has had a long career in social services, formerly the Director of Section 8 for Durham’s Housing Authority before
coming to DCLT twelve years ago.

DCLT residents make up one third of the Board of Directors and staff members take pride in knowing residents first hand. It is a choice that DCLT makes to manage our own properties instead of contract with a third party. “I always get taken care of when I call,” said Nakia.

This is a testament to the personal relationships DCLT staff and residents build over the years. Even before the hurricane, Marcia had known that Nakia was interested in a bigger apartment. Her kids were getting older and wanted more space and their own rooms.

Marcia Rogers (L) with Nakia Hodges (R), Caleb Mulzac, and Johnessia Hodges on the porch of their Cornell Street apartment to where they relocated after Hurricane Florence.

Marcia had just learned that a vacancy was coming up just a few blocks away. The flood made the preparation of the vacant apartment to relocate residents more urgent. When they left the hotel, Marcia and her team had the new, larger apartment ready for Nakia’s family to move in. “Because Nakia was already a DCLT tenant, we were able to prioritize and make this move work for her family,” commented Marcia. Moreover, DCLT only charged Nakia her 2 bedroom $550 rent for the first two months to help her manage her finances through the transition.

The flooding caused damage to the water main under the building, so Marcia’s team had to cut up concrete and dig down into Nakia’s kitchen floor to find and repair the leak.

DCLT spent $6,000 to replace the main – not to mention costs to replace sheetrock, floors, and cabinets too. But that wasn’t even the half of it. During the storm, in addition to Nakia’s apartment, Marcia’s team repaired two other flood-damaged apartments AND relocated four families. All in just under two weeks!

That’s DCLT for you – Durham’s rapid-responding nonprofit permanent affordable housing developer.

Consider a gift to DCLT this holiday season and for DCLT’s End of Year Fundraising Campaign as a way to show your appreciation and support for Marcia Rogers, John Svara, and David Dixon, DCLT’s Maintenance team, for gracefully and deftly handling the flood damage at Morehead Glen.

What could have been a curse turned into a larger apartment blessing for Nakia Hodges and her family!