Wake County takes steps to solve affordable-housing crisis

Joel Brown Image
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Wake County addresses affordable housing
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Many say the county is making steps in the right direction to address the affordable-housing crunch.

WAKE COUNTY, NC (WTVD) -- With about 56,000 working families making less than $39,000 a year in Wake County unable to find an affordable place to live, the Wake Board of Commissioners amended its affordable housing plan at Monday night's meeting.

The panel voted to give higher priority in rental assistance program to renters earning at or below 40 percent of the area median income; for homeless individuals and their families; and people who may have lost their homes because of a government action, loss of housing assistance or a natural disaster.

The new moves come about seven months after the crisis at Forest Hills Apartments in Garner where dozens of low-income families were abruptly evicted from their homes when the landlord decided to convert the complex into market-rate homes.

Some of the affordable housing advocates who stepped in to help many of those displaced families of Forest Hills were in the audience at Monday's commission meeting.

"(Forest Hills) was an unfortunate situation but a lot of (the families) are housed. They're doing well. And if they're not, they call me and I appreciate that," said Bage Shade with Triangle Family Services.

Shade and Lisa Rowe from Families Together both applauded the Board of Commissioners for its recent effort to address the county's affordable housing crisis. They agreed the county is moving in the right direction.

"We learned a lot during (the Forest Hills situation). And I think that's something that nobody wants to see happen again," Rowe said. "So, if nothing else, I think it made us stronger because it was such a tough situation."

Also Monday, the commission signed off on spending up to $88,000 to assist in the building of a new women's homeless shelter and an $84,000 grant to Habitat for Humanity for six affordable homes in Wake Forest.