"When we look at our overall housing in Wake County, there's holes," said Wake County commissioner vice chair Vickie Adamson. There's underserved folks. Hopefully (AHAC) can look at the underserved and see who is going to take them into the fold."
The group is being formed as a broader effort by the 2019-established Affordable Housing and Community Revitalization Department.
AHAC will be comprised of 16 diverse members who will:
- Provide feedback and assistance to staff in developing affordable housing strategies
- Identify and bring resources to Wake County
- Remove barriers to affordable housing development
- Contribute to networking and partner identification
- Assist staff in reviewing potential affordable housing opportunities
- Provide staff with expert opinion on various affordable housing matters
- Provide feedback on consolidated and annual plans
- Provide a network for disseminating information and opportunities
The members will be made up of representatives from behavioral health systems, an affordable housing developer, a local college/university, a community representative, economic development, faith community, financial system, health system, hospitality industry, human services, law enforcement, legal industry, lived experience community representative, NC-507 Continuum of Care, rental housing and property management, and the Wake County Public School System.
"I'd like to add that we should do...an analysis of where most of our leaders are when it comes to affordable housing," added commissioner Maria Cervania. "We often do a lot of work in Southeast Raleigh and I hope that there's a lot of presence there, but I like to see if there's other areas in our county because we serve all our areas."
As Monday afternoon's meeting was being conducted, southeast Raleigh father and husband Clifton Bullock was being forced out of the family's two-bedroom apartment.
"I want to cry, but I can't," said Bullock as he fought back tears in front of his son.
The father of eight was in the process of moving things out of their home before having to surrender the keys to their home.
"I made it this far in my life without an eviction," said Bullock. "I didn't want one now. And I was hoping that if I leave before the sheriff gets here, then it wouldn't be on my record, but it is."
Bullock was working two jobs but had to quit one of them when one of his son's caught COVID-19 in the summer. To make ends meet, he would pick up Door Dash and Uber Eats orders for additional cash.
"I don't want to wake up, 8 o'clock in the morning to a knock on the door -- 'You got 10 minutes to be out', said Bullock as he moved items from his apartment to the family's car.
""I was telling my wife if push come to shove, we have no choice. It's getting cold outside. And I'm not trying to be sleep outside with the kids," he said.
Bullock's employer was gracious enough to put the family in a Durham hotel for two weeks to buy them some time.
After that, however, is Bullock's best guess.
"If someone can just get a word to the landlord to just wait 20 more days. You know, just give us some more time," he pleaded. "Thanksgiving is canceled. And we're on the verge of canceling Christmas."
Wake County will be in the process of selecting members for AHAC until Dec. 10. Its first meeting is scheduled for mid-to-late January.