19 court proceedings filed against local nonprofit Changing Faces

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 7:04 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’re digging into the 19 court proceedings filed against a local nonprofit accused of misusing its money.

Changing Faces says it focuses on finding families homes.

Clients pay a portion of their rent to Changing Faces, which in turn is supposed to pay the full rent.

But now we’re finding tens of thousands of dollars in missed rent and late fees.

Documents allege late payment notices and eviction notices — $1,500, $3,000, even some $4,000 “overdue balances.” All are against Changing Faces or the tenants who use its services. After combing through close to 200 pages of suits, we found more than $40,000 in unpaid fees.

Going through those documents, we found at least five tenants were evicted from Pinewood at National Hills Apartments after being in the Changing Faces program. That’s because rent payments were not transferred to the complex from Changing Faces even though these tenants have proof. And tenants want answers.

“Still having no place to go, still dealing with this struggle and that I’m not the only one...something needs to be done about this,” said an anonymous victim of Changing Faces.

For one woman, Changing Faces was a door of hope for her and her daughter.

“She was able to be that person in-between to get that housing and get my credit back up,” she said.

After paying a $250 fee to start with the program she found herself in a hotel waiting months for an apartment.

“When you’re that far into needing help it’s easy to trust anybody,” she said.

Now after paying those fees she’s still not in the program.

“It’s trying to trust someone and thinking you can trust someone and then them stringing you along for so long that you end up in a bigger hole than you were when you began,” she said.

We found other people in a similar situation. After two weeks of combing through almost 200 pages of court documents we found more than $40,000 in rental fees owed to local apartment complexes by Changing Faces.

“She’s an individual that as soon as she gets her money she will not call you back,” she said.

That’s also what Pinewood at National Hills Apartments says. They’ve had at least five tenants evicted. Residents have come to the office with proof they paid their rent but say Changing Faces never turned that money over. From there, the apartment complexes send that to a collections agency that then gives Changing Faces a 30-day notice for payment.

We reached out to Augusta Housing and Community Development, where officials did say they have worked with Changing Faces before and they’re aware of the organization.

“It’s unfair and it’s not OK,” the renter said. “The community needs to pull together and find out what’s going on and find out why everyone is struggling to just survive being victimized by this.”

We looked up Changing Faces on the IRS website. From what we could see Changing Faces has not filed tax returns since 2018. We reached out to the sheriff’s office if this is on their radar and we haven’t heard back.

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