Housing Access and Affordability

We believe that everyone deserves a safe, stable and affordable home. A rising tide of real estate speculation, gentrification and displacement is destroying Durham’s unique character as a mixed income, multiracial and multicultural city. These disastrous trends are merely the modern manifestations of a history of discriminatory housing policy in this city. Public investment in the creation and preservation of affordable homes can mitigate the most destructive consequences we are experiencing in Durham. Together, we can build a Durham where anyone can afford to live regardless of race or income.

Here’s what we’re proposing for the next four years:

  • Introduce and support a ballot initiative for a $95M affordable housing bond package as proposed by Mayor Schewel.

  • Complete the Willard Street Apartments, a residential development in the heart of downtown Durham and adjacent to Durham Station with 82 affordable apartments (including 21 apartments reserved for housing voucher holders).

  • Increase city financial support for projects by our non-profit affordable housing developers for the creation and preservation of affordable homes of all types, especially along key transit corridors and our network of greenway trails.

  • Ensure that Durham’s unified development ordinance and comprehensive plan allow for increased residential density and more diverse housing types in a manner sensitive to local neighborhoods.

  • Work with local Durham financial institutions to create a loan program that will allow families to develop their own accessory dwelling units.

  • Support the Durham Affordable Housing Loan Fund with city funding (as well as private financial support) so that our non-profit affordable housing developers can act with agility in the real estate market when properties come up for sale.

  • Maximize the use of federal housing tax credits to make sure that new affordable homes are created using these credits each year.

  • Lobby for legislation at the state level to allow progressive property taxation, inclusionary zoning, and rent control.

  • Lobby state and federal regulators for additional federal tax credits within the city Durham so that additional affordable homes can be built.

  • Create a program of gap financing for the developers of affordable homes so that Durham can make use of even more federal housing tax credits to create new affordable homes in our city.

  • Explore the expansion of existing incentives for private developers to include affordable homes for low income families in new residential developments.

  • Provide direct financial support for the necessary redevelopment of the Durham Housing Authority’s residential communities while ensuring that existing DHA residents have an absolute right to return to their communities once each redevelopment is complete.

  • Increase the amount of permanent supportive housing within the city of Durham for those who have disabilities and are chronically without housing.

  • Create more homeownership opportunities for low income Durham residents through a citywide down payment assistance program.

  • Increase funding for the city’s home repair and tax relief programs so that long-term low income homeowners can stay in their homes.

  • Expand outreach to elderly, disabled and low income homeowners in the city of Durham to make sure that eligible residents are taking advantage of state property tax relief programs.

  • Educate Durham homeowners about the risks associated with “we buy homes” scams and offer alternatives to these predatory acquisition practices.

  • Provide a surge of funding for homeless services and rapid rehousing programs to expand our coordinated entry system and to effectively end homelessness in the city of Durham.

  • Expand emergency rental assistance so that more tenants can stay in their homes.

  • Continue to combat Durham’s eviction crisis by expanding city funding for legal services for tenants facing eviction.

  • Create incentives to encourage landlords to accept housing vouchers, to accept homeless residents as tenants, and to consider mediation before resorting to eviction.