RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — This week, voters passed an $80 million affordable housing bond in Raleigh. It’s been almost 10 years since the last housing bond passed.
“It was thrilling to see that level of support in the community. 72 percent was a historic high,” said Larry Jarvis, director of Housing & Neighborhoods for City of Raleigh.
A decade ago, Yolanda L. Taylor struggled to find a home for her family in Raleigh.
“I could not find affordable housing that fit our needs in Raleigh, so we went to Wake Forest,” said Taylor.
It’s an issue she still monitors closely as an attorney who specializes in community economic development and housing.
“I know that affordable housing depends, it depends on your income, it can mean different things to different people,” she said.
Jarvis said the bond intersects transit investment and affordable housing. The money will go toward everything from expanding existing programs to creating new ones.
“To make sure low-income people, modest income people have equal access and equitable access to those transit investments as anyone else,” said Jarvis.
The bond’s been criticized for not providing enough for the poorest community members.
Jarvis said there are waitlists for low-income housing across the city.
“You have to increase the number of units so the people who do get to the top of the waiting list and they’re eligible for a voucher, there’s a vacant unit for them,” said Jarvis.
Taylor said low-wage workers are essential workers who are crucial for a strong economy. She said the bond is the first step.
“The main issue to tackle is the housing policy. Raleigh has to determine and make up its mind what kind of city it wishes to be,” said Taylor.
She wants to see more done and more consideration of how developments displace people or affect certain groups. That way, she said there can be equitable growth.
“It’s an opportunity and not a barrier,” said Taylor. “It’s an opportunity to have more discussions and more people at the table, especially community people, and that Raleigh will grow in an equitable way where all races, cultures, and people with varied means can partake and thrive.
The city said the next steps will be to establish priorities and policies with the council at the beginning of next year.
Advocates said they plan to be part of those conversations and want people affected by these issues to be too.
You can find more information about the housing bond here.
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