On Saturday, June 17th, elected officials from across Wake and Johnston counties came out to Old Poole Place in Raleigh to join in Elected Officials Build Day. Fifteen members of municipal, county, state governments and staff participated by lending their time and energy to building houses alongside Habitat volunteers.
Volunteers kicked off the build with some dynamic speeches about why increasing the supply of housing is so important and the pivotal role policy makers have in supporting policies and programs that promote affordable housing. Habitat Homebuyer Nancy Repone spoke about how even though she has a full-time job it has still been hard to find housing in her price range due to “rent being astronomical.”
In Wake and Johnston counties 1 in 4 families spend too much of their income on housing. One reason for this is that housing prices have risen faster than wages, making the cost of owning a home much more expensive. One way to combat this problem is by increasing the supply of low-cost housing. At Old Poole Place, Habitat is building 105 new affordable homes, creating a whole neighborhood of new opportunities.
“I want everyone to know that they are welcome here...[Raleigh] is not just for the wealthy but for everyone” stated Raleigh City Councilor Christina Jones when asked why affordable housing was important to her.
After a busy day of caulking, hammering, and putting in doors, elected officials hung up their hard hats and left with a reminder of the critical role they play in supporting policies and programs that support affordable housing.
A few of the local solutions include changing zoning codes to allow lower cost housing types, acquiring land to build more affordable housing on, and expediting the permit process and waiving fees for affordable projects. Legislators can also help by increasing funding for affordable housing initiatives at all levels of government.
If you like to help advocate for affordable housing, you can contact your local representative to let them know you'd like their support! Find your representative online at commoncause.org.