To address the housing affordability crisis in Durham we have to develop a plan that encompasses more than a housing plan. In order to make affordable housing a reality that is sustainable, our city needs to make an intentional investment of $100 million over the next ten years with social impact bonds that address housing, job training, entrepreneurship for the disenfranchised, small business incubation, and public health & safety now before we lose the opportunity to have an equitable impact.
We have to recognize the role of systemic and institutionalized racism that disproportionately impacts African Americans in our city that allows for marginalized communities to be left behind. We need to create pipelines of resources that address families facing homelessness due to displacement and the eviction crisis because only then will everyone have better housing options creating equitable housing for all resident not unsustainable programs and services;
Some ideas I would pitch in community conversation would include:
continue our strong city support for the economic development initiative and actually provide housing subsidies for displaced long term residents that face gentrification and build mix-income/mix-use/mix-communities that thrive like Golden Belt;
support for the Durham Housing Authority (DHA) in redeveloping in a 5:1 ratio around the current housing residents that require housing assistance beyond a voucher that cannot be used.
prevent the displacement of DHA’s downtown communities with equitable redevelopment and sustainability planning as mixed-use/ mixed income targeted communities for existing residents as a priority so there is zero forced displacement for those residents.
ensure the success of DHA’s housing voucher program so that the 6,000 people in need of low-income housing who are supported by those vouchers are able to find and sustain healthy, safe, affordable housing that is energy efficient;
use publicly owned land downtown and within a ½ mile of planned transit stations to leverage affordable housing;
develop an effective strategy for funding and supporting landlords willing to participate in the affordable housing plan renovations and repairs to maintain sustain healthy, safe, affordable housing that is energy efficient;
working with developers that have equitable development practices that include hiring residents of Durham, paying a living wage, and/or having community benefits agreements in place with local nonprofits that support our city housing plan to contribute to our affordable housing;
fix the municipally funded gentrification that low-income homeowners face in areas like Southside by providing 3 year grants to pay their increased portion of property taxes,
help fund non-profit and cooperative construction and provide gap financing for current affordable projects underway local organizations and non-profits;
develop neighborhood level plans for lot infill that include alternative site plans like tiny houses developments, flag lots, multi-unit for non-conforming lot sizes, and a process for incorporating accessory dwelling units into communities that lack affordable housing.