Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

It has been 185 since Raleigh City Council discontinued Citizens Advisory Councils with no replacement.

Raleigh’s Affordable Housing Bond: No Commitments = No Accountability

A comparison of Durham’s successful $95M Affordable Housing Bond in 2019 with Raleigh’s proposed 2020 Bond reveals stark differences: Unlike Durham’s precise commitments, Raleigh’s bond lacks details required for accountability and for judging whether the spending will address our most pressing housing needs: Raleigh’s 16,685 extremely low-income households experiencing severe cost-burdens. This leaves the $80M in spending open to ‘flexible’ future deals with little oversight or accountability. For Raleigh’s Bond to meet our most pressing housing needs, City Council needs to adopt Durham’s roadmap for building voter trust – soon.

Raleigh’s Affordable Housing Bond Lacks Assurances That Our Most Pressing Housing Needs Will Be Met.

Durham’s 2019 Bond Commitments Built Trust with the Voters

When Durham’s Mayor Steve Schewel was invited to address the Raleigh City Council last December, he emphasized his council’s two ‘crucial’ steps that ensured Durham’s successful $95M Affordable Housing Bond*. First, Durham listened closely to the community’s needs. Second, Durham promised a comprehensive set of bond programs, with itemized funding amounts and specific unit production and rehabilitation commitments. Durham’s commitments go beyond housing, to include eviction diversion, job training, neighborhood stabilization and more**.  According to Schewel, these are the guarantees that earned the trust and support of Durham voters. Just as importantly, they are the commitments that will hold the Durham Council accountable for real results.

So Far, Raleigh’s Bond Lacks Commitments and Therefore, Lacks Accountability

 By comparison, Raleigh’s bond package approved by Council is a bare-bones outline, with the largest share of funds going to undefined development partnership deals. Raleigh’s package is completely lacking in commitments to the number and type of units that will be produced, and to crucial services found in Durham’s bond. At Council’s June 2 meeting, Raleigh’s Mayor argued against adding commitments, which would reduce the ‘flexibility’ of how the $80 million is spent . That lack of accountability is exactly what Durham’s Mayor Schewel warned against. As Councilor Cox suggested, without the accountability of clear commitments, Raleigh voters may be unwilling to write this Council an $80 million ‘blank check that will inadvertently lead to more gentrification’.

The matrix below compares commitments contained in Durham’s Affordable Housing Bond** with Raleigh’s current bond package.   (See below for more details about both bonds.)

Affordable Housing Programs

See notes below for more details***

DURHAM $95M BOND

Commitment | Amount

RALEIGH $80M BOND

Commitment | Amount

1 Prevent & Rehouse Homeless

YES

$10.5M NO

?

2 Permanently Affordable Housing

YES

$58.9M NO

?

3 Downtown Affordable Housing

YES

See Item 2 NO

?

4 Produce & Preserve Small Units

YES

$7.5M NO

?

5 Contracts Dedicated to Minorities

YES

30% NO

?

6 Prop. Tax Outreach & Education

YES

$.65M NO

?

7 Eviction Diversion Legal Aid

YES

$2.4M NO

?

8 Construction Job Training

YES

$2.5M NO

?

9 Affordable Housing Loan Fund

YES

$1.5M NO

?

10 Accessory Dwelling Financing

YES

$3.5M NO

?

 

When they voted to move forward with the bond on June 16, three Raleigh City Councilors: Branch, Cox and Martin, pledged to solicit input from residents and amend the Bond over the next 1 to 2 months to meet the community’s greatest needs. The others were either silent, except for Baldwin and Buffkin, who opposed substantial added commitments.

BOTTOM LINE: Durham has provided a ‘crucial’ roadmap for Raleigh’s successful Bond in November. Follow their lead with commitments and accountability.


Durham Bond Information

* The ‘Two Crucial Steps’ needed to earn the trust of voters are described by Mayor Schewel at Raleigh Council’s Dec 17 Worksession (at 52:30 of video):  (http://raleigh.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=5&clip_id=6381)

** Durham Bond Fact Sheet presented by Mayor Schewel. It details bond programs and expenditure commitments:
https://go.boarddocs.com/nc/raleigh/Board.nsf/files/BJSUT879C4FF/$file/20191217HNAffordableHousingDurhamFactSheet.pdf

*** Durham Bond Programs Details – beginning at slide 17  https://durhamnc.gov/DocumentCenter/View/25577/3—Five-Year-DCD-FY20-24-Proposal-draft-2-14-19—Copy

Durham Commitment to 30% Minority Contracting – In his December 17 comments to the Raleigh Council, Mayor Schewel described Durham’s Bond commitment that 30% of all public and private spending associated with bond projects would be dedicated to minority contractors. Raleigh’s Bond makes NO commitment to minority contracting.

Durham Bond Production Commitments (Raleigh’s bond makes no production commitments) https://durhamnc.gov/3932/Affordable-Housing-Bond#:~:text=After%20thoroughly%20evaluating%20the%20need,Affordable%20Housing%20Bond%20Investment%20Plan.

  • Build 1,600 new affordable housing units and preserve 800 affordable rental units
  • Move 1,700 homeless individuals and households into permanent housing
  • Provide 400 affordable home ownership opportunities for first-time homebuyers
  • Help 3,000 low-income renters and homeowners remain in or improve their homes

Durham’s Bond Committee Membership incorporated stakeholder diversity not found in the Raleigh’s staff-selected committee: • Durham Housing Authority tenants, • city subsidized housing tenants, • Latino community, • Peoples Alliance, • Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People.  Raleigh’s Bond Committee included NO tenants or other users of Raleigh’s affordable housing programs.

Raleigh Bond Information

Raleigh’s Critical Housing Needs are described in Raleigh’s federally-mandated Consolidated Plan. Raleigh’s proposed Affordable Housing Bond SHOULD commit to focusing on these needs, but it does NOT.  https://cityofraleigh0drupal.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/drupal-prod/COR19/Draft5Year%20ConsolidatedPlan20212025.pdf

Consolidated Plan Excerpt: “The primary housing need for Raleigh’s low- and moderate-income residents remains finding rental housing that is affordable. Raleigh’s rapid growth has resulted in rising land values and housing costs, while incomes for lower-wage earners have failed to keep pace. Very-low (50% AMI) and extremely-low (30% AMI) income households are most affected, with 16,685 extremely low-income households experiencing severe cost-burdens, spending more than 50% of their income on housing and utility costs. An influx of high-paying jobs and demand for housing near the city center has resulted in many once affordable areas being redeveloped into higher income neighborhoods.

 “The need for affordable housing is further exacerbated by the loss of naturally occurring affordable housing developments being acquired by developers and either demolished or redeveloped into above market rate or luxury apartments. Additionally, the City’s lack of authority to require a set aside for affordable housing in new developments also impedes the supply of affordable rental units.”

Raleigh’s Bond Committee Package Recommendations – see slides 12 & 13:  https://go.boarddocs.com/nc/raleigh/Board.nsf/files/BPQ4J60BBBE8/$file/20200519HN2020AffordableHousingBondAdvisoryCommitteeFinalReport.pdf

Raleigh Bond Schedule and Debt Info  https://go.boarddocs.com/nc/raleigh/Board.nsf/files/BPQ4J80BBDCD/$file/20200515FIN2020AffordableHousingBondSupplementalDocuments.pdf

 

Subscribe to Newsletter

For more information or to get on our mailing list,
email LivableRaleigh@gmail.com