Residents in a mental health and substance abuse treatment program that has a troubled past say they were recently locked out of the agency's apartments in Greensboro.
People in 22 units at South Pointe Apartments told housing advocates a program representative gave them one day's notice to vacate, and were thrown out July 17. The Greensboro Housing Coalition says the residents were staying in apartments leased by United Youth Care Services.
The property owner, listed as Yaakov Shulman of Village Walk Apartments LLC, says eviction proceedings started against United Youth Care Services before the COVID-19 pandemic, when a moratorium on evictions went into place. Shulman says the organization has not paid rent for at least eight months. The Guilford County Sheriff's Office resumed executing evictions in July.
United Youth Care Services has previously been accused of Medicaid fraud, and some apartments at another complex that housed its residents were condemned last year.
Roddy Covington with the city of Greensboro's Code Compliance Division says an inspection of South Pointe Apartments conducted on the day of the evictions showed these residents were also living in sub-standard housing.
"On the exterior, we had some peeling and chipping paint, broken windows, cracks in the foundation, rotten wood, and the doors needed to be weather-tight," Covington said.
"The units I went in were unclean and unsanitary. There were roaches. Some didn't have the power or the water on. The HVAC unit was damaged and had exposed wiring, inoperable smoke alarms, the windows did not open as designed, and kitchen cabinets were damaged."
Shulman says he has worked to improve the property since he took ownership in March. He says he is aware of the conditions in these units, and will resolve them within the 30 days the city allows for responses to code violations.
State health regulators moved to revoke United Youth Care Services' license last year for violating standard-of-care policies. A spokeswoman with the state Department of Health and Human Services says United Youth Care Services appealed, and that case is still pending. Under state law, the group is allowed to continue providing services until the state Office of Administrative Hearings issues a ruling.
Josie Williams of the Greensboro Housing Coalition says United Youth Care Services misled residents who were locked out of South Pointe Apartments this month. Copies of contracts for the units list "United Youth Foundation" as the tenant. Williams says when residents tried to appeal their evictions, they were told they did not have standing.
"One resident told me the judge said to her, 'United Youth Care should be fighting for a stay of the eviction because they are the tenant. You all are nowhere on the lease or even in the agreement,'" Williams said.
Williams says her group and two other organizations have been working with residents to find them temporary or permanent housing.
United Youth Care Services did not respond to a request for comment.