From The Daily Tarheel
For Pat Noelle, Saturday was about searching for answers.
Noelle was one of approximately 50 residents, students and local advocates who marched in protest of rising rent prices at the Collins Crossing Apartment Homes in Carrboro.
“It’s not fair,” Noelle said. “If the rent goes up, what are they gonna offer us?”
The march for Collins Crossing began at the Carrboro Town Commons and wound through downtown, finishing on the lawn of Collins Crossing.
Collins Crossing, formerly known as Abbey Court Condominiums, was recently bought by Aspen Square Management.
The apartment complex is considered one of the last affordable housing locations in Carrboro.
Its residents are mainly Burmese and Latino immigrants. The complex has been plagued by crime problems in the past.
Noelle said she showed up to the march because she wanted to know what was happening to her rent.
She said when the apartment complex first changed hands, some residents received a flier telling them the monthly rent would go up by $25.
But residents complained their rent has risen by more. For some, rent has risen to as much as $720.
Noelle said she would be forced to leave her apartment if her rent reached $720. She pays $550 in rent each month.
“It’s hard to find apartments in Carrboro,” she said. “If I had to move, I’d have to go to Hillsborough.”
The Chapel Hill/Carrboro Human Rights Center has received complaints from several Collins Crossing residents about rising rent prices.
Victor Acosta, the center’s community director, worked with Collins Crossing residents to make sure they knew about the protest.
And students showed up in solidarity.
UNC senior Paula Gonzales said she marched because, as an immigrant, she knows the difficulties many immigrants face.
“Sometimes they are treated like criminals when they are just trying to make a living,” she said.
In October, Carrboro held several affordable housing forums for National Community Planning Month.
Local leaders recognized the problems with the supply and affordability of housing in Carrboro.
But protesters worry that the rising rent prices would further gentrify one of the only remaining affordable housing complexes left in the town.
“There isn’t affordable housing in Carrboro,” said Fredy Perlman. “This protest is self-defense.”