Neighborhoods

Affordable Housing: Policy Tools & Best Practices

In its ongoing series on affordable housing, the Town of Chapel Hill hosted Michelle Winters, senior visiting fellow at the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Housing last Tuesday to talk about the policy tools and best practices for affordable and workforce housing.

Winters began her presentation discussing housing trends nationwide and specifically talked about the recent surge in renter households that is expected to continue into the future. The most important takeaway: Half of all renter households are at least moderately cost burdened, meaning they spend at least 30% of their income on rent. This statistic highlights why housing professionals have broadened their discussion of what affordable means in recent years to include a range, all the way from homelessness to just below market rate. As the town’s executive director for housing and community development, Loryn Clark, put it: housing needs to be affordable for everybody.

Town Hall Series Starts Next Week

Starting next week, I'll be hosting a series of four Town Hall events that each focus on a different issue in our community: downtown Chapel Hill, social and environmental justice, economic development and working together in Orange County. 

I want these events to be an opportunity for residents to engage and take an active role in shaping the future of our town. All you need to bring is an open mind and ideas for how we can build a more vibrant, livable community. Here's the schedule:

Issue: Downtown Chapel Hill
When: Wednesday, Feb. 25th at 5:30 p.m.
Where: DSI Comedy, 62 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Click here to see full event details and RSVP for the downtown Chapel Hill Town Hall.

Issue: Social and Environmental Justice
When: Saturday, Feb. 28th at 1 p.m.
Where: Rogers Road Community Center, 101 Edgar Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

10 Questions to Ask Ourselves About Diversity

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the makeup of interest groups and other constituencies in Chapel Hill lately, and how it reflects upon the diversity of our community. I focus on Chapel Hill, because, well, that’s the local entity I spend the most time following. But the same questions I ask below should be asked at any level of government, and of any organization we associate ourselves with.

This isn’t a criticism of a specific group. A lot of organizations I’ve been involved with through the years wouldn’t score perfectly on this test. The point isn’t to make anyone feel bad, it’s to ask all of us to do better.

I believe strongly in meritocracy, but meritocracy cannot exist in an ecosystem without diversity. To find the best ideas, you need to start by collecting the most ideas.

Anyway, without further ado, here are ten questions I hope that everyone organizing a political group, civic organization, or public input session asks themselves.

Chapel Hill Most Expensive Housing Community in North Carolina

Coldwell Banker is out with their annual home price comparisons, as reported by the Triangle Business Journal, and the news isn't so great for anyone living in Orange County concerned with affordability.

Chapel Hill ranks as the most expensive housing community in North Carolina. A typical four-bedroom, two-bathroom home will cost you an average of $401,765 here, compared with a state average of only $229,112. Hillsborough ranks 9th at $276,816.

For comparison, the average price for a four-bedroom, two-bath home in Durham is only $250,129. In Raleigh, it's $272,305.

The metric isn't perfect - looking only at relatively large houses - but the comparison still paints a pretty clear picture of what's happening in Orange County compared with the rest of the state.

Bike-In Dinner & A Movie Benefit for I-books Move

On Saturday, August 30th bike-in to check out Internationalist Bookstore’s soon-to-be new space in Carrboro at 101 Lloyd St.  All proceeds go to help Internationalist move to the new space and build new bookshelves.  At 7 p.m., we’ll be serving a home-cooked Southern dinner including mashed potatoes with local mushroom gravy, hoppin’ john, and sauteed collared greens (all vegan), and lemon balm iced tea.  There will be popcorn and other concessions available.  The movie will start promptly at 8 p.m.  We’re asking each person for a suggested donation of $20 but whatever you can give is appreciated.  Members of Piedmont Earth First! and friends of Ibooks are hosting this event out of appreciation for the many years Internationalist has allowed us to host free events in their space.  Spread widely!

“This move is a huge undertaking, and a huge leap of faith. We need our community’s support to make this move successful. Please donate whatever you can to pay for the costs of renovations, new bookshelves and furniture, and to help us weather the financial impact of a big move and establish ourselves firmly in our new home. We also want to invite our community to help with workdays in the new space, help us spread the word, and help us with a vision for our new space and the amazing ways our work can grow through this move.”

Other options if you can’t attend:

Internationalist Books is Moving! Fundraising Page on EverRibbon

You can make donations through our PayPal

This would be an excellent time to join Ibooks as a Sustaining Member!

If you’d like to help us in other ways, like donating materials, helping with workdays, or hosting a fundraiser, please be in touch! You can email them at ibooks@internationalistbooks.org.

 

Date: 

Saturday, August 30, 2014 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Location: 

101 Lloyd St. Carrboro

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