The IFC, a nonprofit organization in Carrboro, is giving money for rent and utility services to tenants facing eviction or displacement after the water shortage that left six units at The Apartments at Midtown 501 flooded.
Affected residents included two UNC students who were temporarily displaced to a hotel. The apartment complex declined to comment on the issue.
Kristin Lavergne, co-director of the IFC, said the nonprofit had a responsibility to take action since the Orange Water and Sewer Authority legally could not.
“State law prevents OWASA from providing help ... so we set up a donation site that helps with things like lost belongings, locating new living arrangements and food and clothing needs,” she said. “It’s something that could happen to anybody.”
All damaged units were rentals, so the relief is focused on monetary contributions rather than physical renovations.
The water shortage began on Feb. 3 when low tank levels and the water main break near Foxcroft Drive created an abnormally low supply of water in OWASA’s water storage.
Because the water levels were so low, using water could contaminate the system. Officials couldn’t guarantee the water’s safety, so they issued Do Not Drink and Do Not Use directives.
On Feb. 4, OWASA told customers it was safe to use the water again, not including the 250 residents of Midtown 501 apartments who remained under a boil-water advisory.
The IFC and OWASA have partnered before to organize the Care to Share program. The program was created to offer aid to low-income families who cannot afford water and sewer services.
Mary Tiger, the OWASA Sustainability Manager, said Care to Share presents an opportunity for people to come together, and the partnership with IFC felt natural.
“(Care to Share) is a way for customers to contribute by providing bill assistance to the people impacted,” she said.
Tiger said that community response in the area has been outstanding, especially during the water crisis.
“The number one question people would ask us during the emergency was ‘How can I help?’” Tiger said. “That’s a testament to the community’s commitment.”
Cash or check donations to help the apartment tenants can be mailed or delivered to the Inter-Faith Council at 110 W. Main St. in Carrboro. Online giving can be done through the IFC’s Network for Good account.