State faces affordable housing gap
"The programs that are out there produce great housing,” said Chris Estes (MRP '02) with the North Carolina Housing Coalition. “We have a great delivery system of for profit and non-profit developers who build it, just not enough funding to keep up with the need."
RALEIGH — Every time a sold sign goes up in front of a Habitat for Humanity house, the organization says the whole community wins. Each stroke of a paint brush, each pile of lumber, and each nail represents a volunteer's time, a generous donation by someone, and the realization of a family's dream. It is the simple idea that we all deserve a good home, even though thousands are still searching. "We'll exceed 300 applicants this year, and we're building 25 houses,” said Habitat for Humanity of Wake County's Kevin Campbell. “So, you can see there's a lot more that we'd like to do."
Habitat has already completed 10 homes in the Long Acres neighborhood of Raleigh. That is only a start and the results are about more than affordable housing. Crime in the neighborhood is down 38 percent over the past year. "And a lot of the credit really goes to the neighbors, who have really gotten caught up in the fact that the neighborhood in improving,” said Campbell.
Through using a large amount of volunteer labor and offering zero interest loans, habitat is often able to keep the cost of home ownership to around $500 a month.
"The programs that are out there produce great housing,” said Chris Estes (MRP '02) with the North Carolina Housing Coalition. “We have a great delivery system of for profit and non-profit developers who build it, just not enough funding to keep up with the need." The need is even greater for affordable rental housing for people at or below 30 percent of an area's median income level. "Essentially folks making less than $20,000 a year,” said Estes. “So, it's people with disabilities, seniors on fixed incomes, and low wage workers."
Officials say it will take great collaboration from the government, private developers, and generous neighbors to make sure more families find good homes.
Learn more about the North Carolina Housing Coalition's efforts: http://www.nchousing.org/
Chris Estes, Executive Director (MRP '02)
Chris joined the Housing Coalition as its Executive Director in September 2003 with a variety of experiences related to low-income communities and affordable housing including economic development, smart growth advocacy, welfare reform, workforce development, affordable housing development and asset-building research. Prior to the Coalition, Chris completed a masters in Social Work and a masters in City and Regional Planning, both from UNC-Chapel Hill. He works closely with the Coalition's partners on our legislative agenda and in promoting the Campaign for Housing Carolina across the state. He hopes to broaden the membership of the Coalition while increasing its impact on the production of affordable housing and improving the quality of life of low-income communities.