A church on Main Street in downtown Durham was packed full of people on Sunday who say there is an affordable housing crisis in their community.

Durham County commissioners are expected to meet with consultants this week to discuss the next steps for two lots of land on East Main Street.

Commissioners have considered building affordable housing, adding parking and using the land for retail and commercial space. 

“We want to make sure the commissioners understand that they have the power,” said Psiyina Davis, Pastor at Nehemih Church. “They are in charge of what the consultants present to them.”


Members of Durham CAN and other community groups pleaded with their elected officials to use this land for affordable housing.

Angel Louis says thanks to gentrification and the lack of affordable housing in Durham, she and her grandson ended up on the street.

“I wouldn’t want to see anybody go through the struggles I went through to find a house, to be homeless, to look my grandson in the eye every night and not know where we’re gonna go to,” Louis said.

All five commissioners agreed they will move forward with affordable housing on the two sites.

The commissioners also agreed to add affordable office space and bring in minority-owned shops.