I attended Livable Raleigh’s recent webinar on Raleigh’s 2020 Affordable Housing Bond to educate myself on our city’s affordable housing needs and the upcoming $80 million bond package that will be on the November 3rd ballot. Admittedly, housing is not my area of expertise, though I fully support helping our most vulnerable citizens secure decent and affordable housing.
Midway through the webinar, a couple of things became clear to me. First, the process Raleigh undertook to obtain feedback from the public on the bond largely left out the voices of the citizens who should most benefit from the bond. Second, there is a remarkable lack of detail in the bond proposal on how the city plans to address the housing needs of extremely-low income and very-low income earners.
At this moment in time, Raleigh needs to develop a greater, more precise, vision for how it intends to spend the money from the affordable housing bond. I want to see Raleigh, a city that I love and call home, make a clear commitment to addressing the housing needs of our poorest citizens. Even more, I want Raleigh to acknowledge the gentrification that is going on in our city, particularly in Southeast Raleigh, and to take bold actions towards preserving our historically Black neighborhoods.
Over the past decade, Raleigh has experienced a rapid loss of affordable housing in neighborhoods near downtown, and we are watching in real-time the displacement of generations of citizens that have long called downtown home. We are also watching the cost of living downtown become so high, that many low-wage service workers, and even civil servants, are being forced to move. These individuals are the lifeblood of our city and their work sustains its day-to-day operations.
I have voted YES on every bond Raleigh has placed on a ballot since I moved here in 1973, and I hope this affordable housing bond will not be an exception. I urge Raleigh City Council to commit to providing “on the record” detail on how it plans on spending the $80 million bond package (a hefty sum) and how it intends to meet the housing needs of extremely-low income and very-low income earners. To do anything less would be to fail to give the public the transparency it deserves and may cost the bond the voter support it needs.
A CALL TO ACTION: – Click Here to send an email to Council, urging them to commit the bond funds to Raleigh’s Essential Workers and Families Facing Evictions