CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – Hammering out the affordable housing problem.

Wake County elected officials joined volunteers on Friday morning to help build homes for families who can’t afford a place of their own.

Officials and volunteers spent several hours working on three out of the seven homes planned for Cary.

Affordable housing is an issue that one in four families in Wake and Johnston counties are facing.

The problem existed before the pandemic, but it’s gotten worse during COVID and the hot housing market.

Habitat for Humanity officials told CBS 17 that for housing to be considered “affordable,” it needs to cost less than 30 percent of a family’s income.

A two-bedroom apartment in Wake County costs about an average of $1,200 a month, which means families in the area must earn at least $48,000 a year.

The average social worker in Wake and Johnston counties makes $45,000 a year.

The average pre-school teacher in the same counties makes $29,860 a year.

Habitat Wake Director of Advocacy Jacquie Ayala told CBS17 that many families in the Triangle are spending too much of their income on housing and are not leaving enough to fund other necessities.

“There’s a huge need for affordable housing in Wake and Johnston counties,” she said. “Rising rent prices and housing prices are part of the problem.”

It’s something that volunteers are hoping to help with, not only by building affordable homes, but by involving local politicians, so they can see firsthand how bad the problem is and do something about it.



“Elected officials can support affordable housing through their policy agendas, by supporting long-term homeowners with property tax relief,” explained Ayala. “They can [also] support our priorities to get more Habitat for Humanity homes constructed, and they can help us by making really strong, deep investments in financing affordable homeownership, affordable rentals, and helping folks who are facing homelessness.”

The three homes currently being built have not yet been dedicated to families, so they are still available.

While several families are in the Habitat Wake pipeline right now, people are still encouraged to apply for the program through their website.