Hundreds of tenants facing eviction in a Lowcountry neighborhood

Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 4:30 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2022 at 5:58 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Hundreds of people in one Lowcountry neighborhood found eviction notices taped to their doors a few weeks ago, saying they had to be out of their homes in as little as a month.

“Over the next 90 days 350 people will be displaced,” Executive Director, HHI Deep Well Project Sandy Gillis said.

Some, like the Salgado sisters, have been told they must be out Sept. 13. Something they were notified of Aug. 12 by this letter that’s fully in English. The Salgado’s, like most people in Chimney Cove, only speak Spanish. The Deep Well Project is trying to help, but the executive director says it’s a near impossible task.

“The thing that is out of our control that we are desperately seeking help from the community is finding rental places where these families could settle.”

There’s 52 units in this community, meaning 52 families out of a home.

The Salgados say they currently pay $1400 a month for their place that houses four adults and three kids. They add that rent would be twice as expensive at all the other places they’ve found.

We communicated with them over FaceTime with our partners at Telemundo Atlanta, who translated the interview.

“We are very worried because we don’t know where we are going to go. It’s such a short amount of time,” Doralic & Cecilia Salgado said.

The last line of this letter reads: If you fail to vacate the property on or before the deadline, the owner will initiate ejectment, requesting that the sheriff of Beaufort county evict you immediately.

Deep Well says that’s not how this should work.

“First of all the sheriff’s deputies are only involved in evictions if there is a court ordered eviction... that’s not what this letter was. What this letter was is notification that the lease is being terminated.”

She calls it bullying and unnecessarily aggressive language. Not surprisingly, that threat of police action caused extra concern in the neighborhood.

“Yes a little danger we feel worried about the police because we don’t want to be treated as delinquents. We haven’t done anything wrong.”

The non-profit staff is doing everything they can to help, and they say if these people can’t find homes it will affect the whole area not just these families.

“We’re about to have 200 of those great employees homeless over the next 60 days and that’s going to be not only a challenge for these families but for the business community where these people are employed.”

If they have to move off the island, Gillis says the workforce here will take a hit and families’ lives will be altered.

“We can’t find anything right now. We just need more time.”

WTOC reached out to the property owner of Chimney Cove along with the Developer believed to be buying the land, and have yet to hear back from either.

Deep Well Project asks you to call them with any leads on places these families could live, even temporarily.