At the May 5 City Council meeting, Raleigh resident Wanda Hunter made the following public comment:
Good evening Mayor, Council, and City staff.
I come before you all this evening to address the reservations around the Affordable Housing Bond.
Housing in the City of Raleigh is a dire crisis currently.
Prior to COVID 19 an affordable housing bond committee was developed with no vetting process and a lack of diversity for those who sit upon this committee, not to mention a couple of conflicts of interest.
I come today to address our need to put the bond on hold until we can curate it with the precision and attention it requires.
Currently the bond committee is tasked with putting the bond package together with inclusion of the overall amount, buckets/categories, percentage per bucket/category.
This process has been streamlined leaving the most important aspect out – CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
A three-page online survey with no comment section in two languages or a phone call does not fill that void.
Without civic engagement our citizens are voting on something they have not been properly educated on.
I am in no way saying that we do not need an affordable housing bond; what I am saying is that we need a bond that is precise, effective, and equitable.
Factors we should consider to put this bond on hold
- Lack of a vetting process for those who sit on the committee
- Lack of civic engagement – which includes assessing the need and educating the citizens on the bond which is essentially a tax they will pay back
- Voter uncertainties around what absentee voting/vote by mail will look like, along with getting a good voter turnout
- Lack of diversity as far as the inclusion of Latino, Asian, Muslim, Students, Elders, and directly impacted persons
- Unpredictable COVID 19 recovery; with this unpredictability, why would we be so eager to push this tax on to the citizens at this time?
- Interest rates being low was a major selling point and currently we know with the devastating impact of COVID 19, the interest rates will remain low for a while
We seriously need to take these factors into consideration.
Housing is a Human Right!
Please consider putting the affordable housing bond on hold until we can properly assess, evaluate, and procure a process that will be diverse, effective, and efficient enough to thoroughly impact the most vulnerable and marginalized populations in need of housing.