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The Charlotte Observer: She watched neighbors get evicted, one by one, in Charlotte: ‘Then it was us.’

December 8, 2021

Dionne Artis watched sheriff’s deputies knock on the doors of several neighbors in her east Charlotte apartment complex, one by one, to evict them.

It was only a matter of time, she recalls until they got to hers. “And then it was us,” she said. “That was it.”

The 52-year-old Army veteran had fallen behind on rent and after unsuccessful attempts at getting help, was facing homelessness in January.

Nearly a year later Artis is living in a new townhouse with her son, after getting help to find housing with a federal voucher for homeless veterans.

As 2021 comes to a close, Mecklenburg County is trying to reach its goal of reducing veteran homelessness by 30% this year. To do so, they need housing for nearly 30 veterans this month.

But finding an affordable apartment — and a willing landlord — is a constant challenge, even with guaranteed rent payments.

What they need now, county and nonprofit leaders say, are landlords willing to accept vouchers and rental subsidies that help pay the rent for veterans and their families.

That can be difficult in a housing market as tight as Charlotte’s, where rents are rising and landlords can be increasingly choosy.

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