'It should be possible': Advocates push for more affordable housing options in Durham

ByJamiese Price via WTVD logo
Sunday, August 21, 2022
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Finding affordable housing options has been a long-standing problem across the Triangle.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Finding affordable housing options has been a long-standing problem across the Triangle. It's a struggle Marie Faison, a longtime Durham resident experienced for years until recently.

"I've lived in Durham since 1990 and I just recently purchased a home two years ago, that's an affordable home," shared Faison.

She is grateful she found a home after struggling for years but understands others haven't been as lucky in their search to find an affordable place to rent or buy in the Bull City.

"They're moving with relatives, couch surfing instead of an opportunity for them to have their own place," Faison continued.

These are reasons that prompted Faison to support organizations like Durham's Community Empowerment Fund, which rallied for affordable housing options.

"It should be possible for someone to find housing in Durham period," said Heeya Sen, who serves as the organization's community organizer.

Sen said they're pushing for 30 percent of future housing developments in Durham to be designed for people making 30 percent or below the area median income of around $63,000.

"We're paying attention and we know that changes need to be made and we put it on policyholders and policymakers and people in power to make these changes in a way that is on a reasonable timeline and listening to the people they're supposed to be serving," Sen added.

Durham voters passed an affordable housing referendum back in 2019 and Forever Home, Durham was established.

It's a $160 million program to create affordable housing for low-to-moderate income residents. This is a partnership with Durham County, Durham Housing Authority, and other nonprofits.

Among the many goals of the Forever Home Durham program, the city has a goal of building 1,600 new affordable rental homes, and provide 400 affordable homeownership opportunities for low-income homebuyers.