Work Continues on Threats of Displacement to Mobile Home Dwellers

As we’ve covered before, there are many mobile home parks in Orange County and they are some of the most affordable types of housing we have. Many, however, are situated on land that is valuable and ripe for re-development (we are keeping an eye on the mobile home park on MLK and Taylor called the Tar Heel Mobile Court as the gas station in front of it has recently closed).

Racial Equity Toolkits–A Local Example

Last year our School of Social Work class, a service learning course with the Community Empowerment Fund, learned how to use a racial equity toolkit to assess 5 local community policies or programs and hopefully produce an analysis that was informative and useful to our elected officials.

Does the Cost of Housing Tell the Whole Story? Not in Carrboro

For years now, residents and elected officials alike have expressed concern over the affordability of housing in Orange County and the Triangle. Durham’s “Pennies for Housing” and Chapel Hill’s recent “Affordable Housing Bond” attest to the central role housing affordability has played in civic discourse in our area. Moreover, research suggests that the cost of an area’s housing is among the most prominent variables that factor into people’s decisions on where settle.

Which is why it’s nice to see articles that help us make investment decisions. Take a recent one by Derrick Miller published on the SmartAsset site. Miller uses the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s definition of “housing cost-burdened”—i.e., when people spend more than 30% of their income on housing—to estimate the percentage of folks in various U.S. cities who are burdened by their housing costs.  His calculations reveal that Newark, NJ is the nation’s “most severely housing cost-burdened” city in the U.S. and that Cary, NC is the least housing cost-burdened city. 

Community and Change in Carrboro: a Student Renter Perspective

I opened the mailer and threw it away. The return address was “Planning Department, Town of Carrboro”. As a city planning student, I thought I would have been more intrigued. But the notice was for a zoning change in a neighborhood I knew nothing about, despite the fact I live just across the train tracks in a North Greensboro Street apartment.

I live with 7 housemates. When I tell that to people, sometimes their mouths go agape.

“Seven?!” they’ll wonder or say aloud in surprised disbelief.

“Yeah, seven, and I like it that way.”

The Changing Face of Neighborhoods: Should we Blame Students?

What do we owe as a community to our marginalized, historic neighborhoods in a community built around a university? What do we owe to students from a university on which our communities thrive? Should we view students moving into existing residential neighborhoods as a threat or should we expect this change and manage for it?

The neighborhoods closest to the university are the most impacted by students as they move in. Impacts include more noise, foot and car traffic and sometimes more trash. They also result in co-learning, resource sharing and greater vibrancy. The challenge is that many of those neighborhoods are historically African American neighborhoods that have already faced cumulative impacts of systemic racism, dis-investment and gentrification.

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