May 22, 2018
Dear Mayor Lavelle and the Board of Aldermen,
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP supports the ½ cent tax increase to support the Affordable Housing Fund in Carrboro, though we also want to draw attention to areas of concern we have regarding how the money will be spent. There is a well-documented need for more affordable housing in our region. There is an estimated market gap of 4,932 housing units affordable to households earning less than $20,000 who live in Orange County. Additionally, there are many people living in existing affordable housing who potentially face displacement, including residents of mobile home communities in Carrboro.
Average apartment rents in our region are unaffordable for people earning less than 80% of the area median income and the gap between affordable and market rate rents has been widening. The benefits to the increased funding are numerous and include the following:
Achieving racial and socio-economic diversity within our community; Providing relocation assistance to families displaced by development; Providing assistance with needed repairs for homeowners who need help; Helping existing housing nonprofits expand the number of units offered.
While we support the tax increase as a first step, we want to make sure that the increased funding is distributed effectively. The Chapel Hill- Carrboro NAACP has concerns that we wish to see addressed in the oversight and distribution of the funds. Those concerns include the following:
1. We want to see clear, well-defined plans for how the funding from the tax increase will be spent and how it will achieve these goals.
2. We want a portion of the funding to support relocation assistance for people who are being displaced by development, including support for mobile home residents. We call on Carrboro to coordinate with Chapel Hill and Orange County so that help for displaced people can be given in all three jurisdictions, in the event that some displaced people move over the border to a neighboring jurisdiction within Orange County. Plans should be made for how assistance can be provided before a crisis occurs.
3. We are concerned about the state of public housing, as it exists today. We want to ensure that there is appropriate oversight so that current unsatisfactory conditions in public housing do not occur in the future. We want well-defined plans that ensure that the renovations, repairs, and rebuilds of existing public housing will result in housing that is
well-maintained, safe, and hospitable communities. We specifically want to request that attention be paid to conditions in the Oakwood Apartments.
4. We want to be sure that this funding reaches people at 60% of the area median income and below.