DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Plans to build new affordable housing are underway in Durham as the Durham Housing Authority announced it has selected development partners to help build three new public housing communities in the downtown area.
These three sites are part of DHA’s Downtown and Neighborhood Plan.
The sites include Fayette Place, vacant land located at Umstead Street and Merrick Street; Forest Hill Heights, an existing public housing community, on South Mangum; and the DHA office and Criminal Justice Resource Center on Main Street.
The plan is to make all three of these sites mixed-income communities, as altogether there will be a total of 1,700 residential units, and 900 of them will be affordable, ranging from 30-80 percent of the area’s median income.
“So you’re not dealing with communities that are all low income,” DHA CEO Anthony Scott said. “It will be a mixture of incomes.”
Scott said some of the residential units at these properties will have an unrestricted income.
In addition, these three locations will include office or retail space, which includes places for these families to receive goods and services. He said the Fayette Place location will include a grocery store.
“You’re bringing a better-quality neighborhood to that community,” Scott said.
Scott said the need for affordable housing in Durham is great, as the city is seeing a lot of higher-end housing being built.
“You’re seeing more people move in, and a lot of higher-end housing being built,” Scott said. “That rent being higher is driving up the rent in existing housing, as well. So it’s important the work that we are doing is expanding housing affordability.”
Scott said the earliest when construction will start on these complexes will be next year.
Charlton Langley lives in the Fayetteville Street Corridor with his four daughters. He is having to find another place to live because the home they are renting was just sold by the owner.
“Up and down the street in this area of Fayetteville Street, a lot of houses are being sold,” Langley said.
He said it has not been easy finding another place to live, especially since he has a vision disability and it’s hard for him to find work.
“It’s been rough trying to find a place that we can afford and not be spending most of our income,” Langley said.
Langley said he was on a waiting list for DHA. Scott said that list includes 4,000 to 5,000 families.
Langley said he thinks it’s great that more affordable housing units are on the way, but he said the need is now.
“People need help right now, a lot of people can’t wait on that,” Langley said.