Governor Cooper calls for more affordable housing to help end homelessness

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Homeless person (Shutterstock)

More than 300 people who work to end homelessness gathered at the McKimmon Center at NC State University Monday for the "Bringing it Home: Ending Homelessness in NC" conference . Organizers said it's the first homelessness conference in 10 years.

Agencies and organizations combatting homelessness participated, including North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, North Carolina Housing Coalition, and North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness.

Governor Roy Cooper addressed the group, saying there's a need for more affordable housing.

"We need to encourage more people - more landlords - to build affordable housing so that we can get more people covered and people good places to live," he said.

Satana Deberry, the Executive Director for the NC Housing Coalition, said she agrees that a lack of affordable housing contributes to the homelessness rate.

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"In North Carolina, we know that 43 percent of people are paying more than they can afford for where they live," Deberry said. "So that means that you move a lot - that you end up not being able to pay for where you live. So we have that challenge that housing is very expensive, but also we have a challenge that there's just not enough housing that low-income people can afford."

Deberry said there are currently 8,962 homeless people in North Carolina. That's down 6 percent from last year.

She and other homeless advocates said they hope lawmakers will allot funds in the budget for homeless services.

"The question of available resources is going to be a big one as we enter into the budget negotiations this month and next month," Gov. Cooper said.

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