Durham residents calling for more affordable housing

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- An affordable housing bond to the tune of $95 million appears to be headed to the November ballot.

Durham mayor Steve Schewel made the announcement in February. Schewel said during his announcement that the plan is one of the first of its kind in the country for a city the size of Durham.

Resident Bertha Bradley, who has lived in Durham for 60 years, believes incoming developers should do more to keep people in the community.

"West End is home. This is where I grew up at," Bradley said. "This is where I belong."

Funding from the bond, which would be supported through a property tax increase, would in part be given to organizations like Durham Community Land Trustees.

The organization buys properties in Durham and rents them to fixed-income residents at an affordable rate. However, the increasing property values and lack of affordable housing is making it difficult for the organization to purchase more homes.

"There's no way (new) rents will cover the cost of buying the property in these neighborhoods and rent them anymore," said Lanier Blum, manager of residential development. "We can't even cover the cost of renting them out because we have debt."

Bradley said incoming developers need to make a percentage of new housing affordable.

"Don't come in, develop in our communities, and not think about the people that's already in the community," she added. "The community belongs to us. It doesn't belong to people buying these $200-$300 thousand dollar homes."
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