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Blog - Habitat for Humanity of Wake County

15 JUNE 2017 | WAGES & HOUSING

Wages for low income workers have been stagnant for the last many years while housing costs continue to rise rapidly.  Check out this editorial from this morning’s editorial in the Raleigh News & Observer:

http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/editorials/article156214079.html

At our recent Habitat for Humanity of Wake County Board of Directors meeting, Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes described housing affordability as a crisis in our community as we discussed the ongoing Forest Hills Apartments situation where 126 families were being evicted from their affordable rental units and told that their housing subsidy vouchers would no longer be accepted once the property was upgraded.

With stagnant wage growth and rapidly rising housing costs due to a lack of affordable supply, Commissioner Holmes uses the right term when she calls the situation a critical one.  Help Habitat Wake grow to meet the need!

12 JUNE 2017 | 245 FAMILIES!

At our Board of Directors annual meeting earlier this month, our visionary Board approved an aggressive plan for us to serve 245 families in our Fiscal Year 2018 which begins July 1.  We are closing out a very successful FY17 June 30 and will serve 205 families, the first time in our history to reach the 200 family served level for a single year!

For FY18, we’ll serve 70 families with homeownership opportunities and another 50 through our owner occupied Home Preservation repair program.  We’re excited to extend our commitment to our global partners with Habitat for Humanity in Honduras, Malawi, and Cambodia by providing financial and volunteer support to serve 125 families in those countries.  We can provide a new home in those countries for approximately $4,500!

As the housing need in Wake County increases at a scary rate due to steeply rising costs our Board is willing to step out in faith to meet more of this need.  Thanks to the wider community for all of your financial and volunteer support.  We need you now more than ever!  We couldn’t dream of such a plan without your critical support!

8 JUNE 2017 | UPDATE TO TRIMBLE AVENUE PROJECT

Habitat Wake is moving forward with its rezoning request for Trimble Avenue in Cary! We’ve made some changes to our project proposal that we hope will be supported by both the Cary Town Council and the surrounding community.  

Working with Town staff, we modified our request to a Residential-8 (R-8) zoning district, which will allow us to build 7 single-family detached homes. We’ve heard that this type of zoning would be supported by many of the residents in the surrounding neighborhood. Based on this feedback, Habitat Wake finalized these changes to our application last week.

We look forward to bringing our revised proposal to the Cary Town Council for consideration at its regular meeting on Thursday, June 22.

We’re humbled by the encouragement we’ve received from our network throughout the rezoning process and we hope you will join us in support at the meeting! It’s scheduled for 6:30pm on June 22 at Cary Town Hall (316 N Academy Street). Arrive early to ensure a seat!

Thank you so much for your continued support! We look forward to partnering with you and the Town of Cary to serve families in need of an affordable place to live.

25 MAY 2017 | HABITAT FOR HUMANITY INTERNATIONAL RELEASES STATEMENT ON TRUMP BUDGET

We posted Monday about the devastating effects President Trump’s budget would have on affordable housing in Wake County. The budget calls for elimination of every federal program used by the Habitat network, which has severe implications in Wake County, but also for communities across the country. Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International released the following statement in reaction to the Administration’s budget proposal:

Habitat urges Congress to protect social safety net programs that support affordable homeownership opportunities

ATLANTA (May 23, 2017) – The White House today released its full fiscal year 2018 budget request, which proposes to eliminate funding for programs that further Habitat for Humanity’s efforts to address the affordable housing crisis across the United States. Proposed cuts include the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program, or SHOP, the Community Development Block Grant, the HOME Investment Partnership Program and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

These vital programs allow Habitat and other organizations to empower more people to access all-too-rare opportunities for affordable homeownership and help provide the tools they need to build better lives for themselves and their families. Decent, affordable housing provides the stability individuals and families need to improve their health and education, enhance their financial growth and security, and strengthen their neighborhoods.

Habitat encourages its supporters and all advocates for affordable housing to contact their members of Congress and urge them to support adequate funding for these critical programs in the fiscal year 2018 budget.

Statement from Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity International:

There has never been a more important time for the American people to stand up for quality, affordable housing. Simply put, this proposed budget lays waste to invaluable programs that are absolutely vital to meeting the needs of families desperate to raise their children in a safe, decent and affordable home.

For Habitat for Humanity, this is a moral issue, not simply a budget one. We will always be a strong and firm voice as we advocate for and partner with those among us who must be remembered, who must be allowed opportunity, who cannot be cast aside.

Without the proven programs that are now sadly in jeopardy, too many of our neighbors and fellow citizens will be denied access to the tools they need, to a hand up that helps them build better lives. These tangible, practical and fruitful investments play an important role in furthering the reach of Habitat’s work, and we call upon our elected officials to not lose sight of the effectiveness and significance of these programs in communities large and small as they consider this White House budget request.

We must never forget that helping more families build and improve decent places to call home only serves to strengthen the fabric and economies of the cities and towns in which we all live and work. May we align our federal budget priorities accordingly.

23 MAY 2017 | TRUMP ADMINISTRATION BUDGET

The Trump Administration released its full proposal for the 2018 federal budget today.  It expands on the budget blueprint outline that was released in March and provides greater detail on the President’s request.

In the proposal, President Trump calls for elimination of every federal program used by Habitat Wake, including several grant programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Corporation for National Service, which houses the AmeriCorps program.

The funding we receive from HUD is equivalent to 20 Habitat homes in Wake County each year. We also host full-time AmeriCorps members who increase our capacity to build and enable us to serve more families.

According to U.S. Census data, over 120,000 households in Wake County are cost-burdened, or pay more than 30% of their income towards housing costs. Investment in HUD programs is essential to the health of our community, particularly as the need for affordable housing continues to increase while available funding sources decrease.

While the budget proposal is alarming, Congress is ultimately responsible for making final funding decisions. As a community, we can make a difference by speaking up in support of these important federal programs. It’s a critical time for Members of Congress to hear from us!

Please take a moment to contact Senators Thom Tillis (202-224-6342) and Richard Burr (202-224-3154), as well as your representative. Let them know that these programs are vital to affordable housing in Wake County and must be protected. Thanks for your support!

22 MAY 2017 | REZONING UPDATE

Our rezoning request on a 2.5 acre parcel on Trimble Avenue in Cary has been a popular topic in the media and subject of past blog posts.  We are grateful to have many supporters encouraging our efforts to build affordable housing in Cary!

We’re pleased to share that land use attorney Jason Barron, of Morningstar Law Group, is assisting our efforts to bring this project to the finish line. Jason has extensive experience with zoning issues in the Town of Cary.

The Cary Town Council will not make a decision on our request on May 25, which gives Jason more time to get up to speed on the project.

We expect the decision will be made in 30 – 60 days. Look to this forum for updates on final council action and ways supporters can be involved.

27 APRIL 2017 | UNDERLYING ISSUES

Storm water and flooding. Traffic. Crime. Property Values. Non-Conformity.

These are all issues we’ve heard from neighbors near to the Trimble Avenue site for which we are seeking rezoning.  Some concerns, like stormwater, are legitimate, but are not impacted by our proposed development.  Some are not legitimate such as higher crime from townhome units or the often held belief that close proximity to affordable housing reduces surrounding property values.  

When objections arise that conflict with previous objections, or when we see new sets of objections emerge as plans change in a favorable direction, we begin to wonder if there isn’t an underlying issue at play and if that isn’t an objection to who the future homebuyers will be.  

Zoning is a tool that can be used to create thoughtful and well-planned communities that work for everyone.  Likewise, zoning can be used as a tool to maintain a homogeneous status quo, introduce bias and exclude groups of people from communities.  It is up to our political leaders to discern what is occurring and ensure that zoning adheres to the higher ground.

The recent Op-Ed by North Carolina Housing Coalition executive director, Satana Deberry, makes an important connection between zoning and its importance to affordable housing.

http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article146749804.html

If you’d like to help with our advocacy efforts for affordable housing around this specific rezoning issue in Cary, here is a link to some specific actions you can take: http://www.habitatwake.org/20-april-2017-home-everyone-cary/

20 APRIL 2017 | A HOME FOR EVERYONE IN CARY

On Monday, the Town of Cary’s Planning and Zoning Board considered a proposal by Habitat Wake to build nine homes off of Trimble Avenue. After a lengthy public hearing, the board recommended that the Town Council deny our application for rezoning of the land. We were disappointed with the decision and consider it a setback to our mission of providing affordable homeownership opportunities for hardworking families.

The case is scheduled for a vote by the Cary Town Council at their regular meeting on Thursday, May 25. Between now and then, Habitat Wake will continue to advocate for affordable housing with the Town of Cary and surrounding community.

We need your voice to help us amplify the message! Everyone deserves a place to call home. Here are several ways to get involved:

Sign on to our letter of support. We will send this to Cary Town Council members at the end of May: bit.ly/SupportTrimble.

Share your support for affordable housing on social media using hashtag #AHomeForEveryone. Tag the Town of Cary on Twitter: @TownofCary and Facebook: TownofCaryNC. Sample posts and Cary Town Council member handles are available here: http://bit.ly/CarySocialMed.

Contact your Cary Town Council member and tell them you support the project. You can look up your representative here: http://bit.ly/CaryCouncil. A template for contacting your council member is available here: http://bit.ly/CaryCouncilTemplate.

Attend the Cary Town Council meeting when council members will vote on Habitat Wake’s project. We will post the date on this blog when it is announced.

Speak publicly in support of this issue. Please contact Rachel Zeitler at rachel.zeitler@habitatwake.org or 919-744- 2424 if interested.

Help us build support by sharing this information with your networks. If you know someone who wants to help but isn’t sure how, please connect them to us! There is a role for everyone. Contact Rachel Zeitler at rachel.zeitler@habitatwake.org or 919-744- 2424.

Thanks so much for your support!

Posted in Affordable Housing | Comments Off on 20 APRIL 2017 | A HOME FOR EVERYONE IN CARY

5 APRIL 2017 | ABUNDANTLY FAR MORE

I attended Habitat for Humanity’s global conference last week in Atlanta along with ten other Habitat Wake staff members and colleagues from around the world sharing in this great ministry to provide homes, communities and hope in God’s name alongside those in need.

At my opening session on Monday, Kerry Thomson, now CEO at Monroe County Habitat in Bloomington, Indiana and former co-worker of mine in Lynchburg, Virginia started us off with this scripture from Ephesians 3:20:

“Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.”

I am pulled in by two phrases in this scripture:  1) that God’s power is within us and 2) that God provides more than we can even imagine.

I have seen this scripture to come to life in my years of service with Habitat and I expect to see it continue.  Our work is naturally challenging—trying to provide homeownership to a group of folks who don’t qualify for traditional financing—and it is through the collective “power at work within us” that it all somehow comes together in a glorious way beyond which we can even dream!