1,065 New & Affordable Homes in Orange County

The 5 million Bond will support the county’s overall goal of building 1000 units in the next 5 years, but will not be the sole source of funding to make this goal possible. The Bond is vital to enabling our community to reach this goal!

The Orange County Affordable Housing Coalition has a plan: Read the Plan

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Chapel Hill has a Plan

Carrboro has a Plan:  Read the Plan

Orange County has a Plan: 
The Affordable Housing Strategic Plan

From the County Commissioners on Oct 21st: “The Affordable Housing Strategic Plan offers a broad, long-term approach to affordable housing in the county.  It includes more than 30 recommendations, ranging from how land-use policies may need to be modified to advance affordable housing development to the use of county-owned land for affordable housing purposes, to how different housing agencies relate to and work with one another.  Due to its comprehensive and long-range nature, the Plan will be approved and implemented in stages.”   We can expect portions of the plan to be solidified and formally released as early as Nov, 1.

 

Commisioners Respond to INDY Week


The following Letter to the Editor was sent to INDY Week on Oct. 21st.

Dear Indy Editors:

Your editorial board chose to not endorse the Affordable Housing Bond because you claim Orange County lacks a plan for how the bond funds will be invested to create new affordable housing units.  This is not the case.

We agree with your statement, “The lack of affordable housing in Chapel Hill and Carrboro—across the Triangle, really—is a mounting problem that needs to be reckoned with. Solutions are not easy to come by. They require tough decisions by town and county leaders, developers, and other stakeholders.”

The Orange County Board of County Commissioners has committed to making those tough decisions. Here’s how we’re going to do it.

In concert with local municipalities, our board will use the bond proceeds to create up to 1,000 affordable housing units throughout the county for rental and ownership. The Board will issue a request for proposal (RFP) to solicit proposals from affordable housing providers and developers to create new affordable housing options.  The RFP process is transparent and fair and is widely used to objectively evaluate proposals from competing providers.  The proposals will be scored by professional staff and recommended to the Board of County Commissioners for final award.

This process was used to award the 2001 bond proceeds that funded more than 200 new affordable units. So it should be noted the county has responsibly and effectively administered bond funds in the past. It’s also consistent with the application and evaluation process used by the Town of Chapel Hill to fund projects with its Affordable Housing Development Reserve. 

While the entire Affordable Housing Strategic Plan has not received final approval, the portion of it that deals with the bond funds is nearing completion.  On November 1, the Board of Commissioners is scheduled to consider the final scoring matrix that will be used in the RFP process to evaluate proposals.  The Board will also formally adopt unit targets that have been under discussion for several months.

The Affordable Housing Strategic Plan offers a broad, long-term approach to affordable housing in the county.  It includes more than 30 recommendations, ranging from how land-use policies may need to be modified to advance affordable housing development to the use of county-owned land for affordable housing purposes, to how different housing agencies relate to and work with one another.  Due to its comprehensive and long-range nature, the Plan will be approved and implemented in stages.   

Our plan is a holistic approach to provide safe, affordable, service-enriched housing for families, seniors, and people with special needs. We plan to reduce the gap between the need for affordable housing and the supply of affordable homes while placing significant emphasis on programs and services that improve the health of our communities.

—Board of Orange County Commissioners

Coalition affiliate, Community Home Trust, responds to INDY week

A coherent plan

The $5 million affordable housing bond in Orange County is well planned, and is a value for every county resident. The Indy’s lack of endorsement for this bond was short-sighted and harmful to those in need of housing in our community.

State and federal financial support for affordable housing have decreased more than 50% in recent years. In order to thrive as a community we must invest in diversity and our housing stock.

There is a solid and worthwhile plan for how this money will be spent. It will be divided among the agencies that provide affordable housing for thousands of people in our county. Our housing organizations operate with low overhead and under strict local governmental regulations. 

This is not a proposal without a coherent plan. I urge the Indy readers to vote in favor of Orange County’s Housing Bond so that our neighborhoods will continue to be home to everyone who wants to work and live in our vibrant county.

Jennifer Ferris

Board President, Community Home Trust

The Coalition responds to INDY Week

I have always relied on The Indy for election endorsements but this year your paper got it wrong when you encouraged voters to vote NO for the affordable housing bond in Orange County. A NO vote on this bond will hurt working families, it will hurt police officers and teachers and Town employees, and it will hurt people experiencing homelessness. We ask you to print a retraction to change your endorsement to YES on the affordable housing bond.

Continue reading “The Coalition responds to INDY Week”

New hub for advocacy events

If you are wondering how to engage in the advocacy process for the Orange County Education and Affordable Housing bonds, look no further than:

www.voteforkidsandfamilies.org

This website is the hub for volunteer-driven events like canvassing and phone banking, which are occurring every weekend in October.

With so much attention paid to the presidential, gubernatorial, and senatorial elections in North Carolina, voters might overlook these important referendums. We need your help to raise awareness about the problems, advocate for the bonds, and get out the vote!

2016 Orange County Bond Referendum

This November, Orange County voters will have the opportunity to change the lives of 160 local families. By voting yes on the $5 million dollar bond for affordable housing, voters can help families achieve residential stability. This step has numerous positive effects downstream for individuals and their families.

Affordable housing is one of the primary issues in Orange County, with 35% of Orange County renters paying more than 50% of their income on rent. Housing is considered affordable when it costs 30% or less of residents’ monthly income. This disparity demonstrates that, right now, Orange County is not doing well at meeting the needs of our most vulnerable populations. With housing costs so high, families must choose between basic needs such as quality food, education, and healthcare. When housing needs are met, research has shown that overall human health improves along with children’s school performance.

A nominal property tax increase for homeowners in Orange County will raise an unprecedented $5 million in county funds for affordable housing projects. This will likely result in 160 new affordable homes and rentals units.

The $5 million dollar bond for affordable housing is paired with a $120 million bond for the county’s local school districts. Housing coalition members believe that housing and education are interdependent.

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Town Council Adopts “Penny for Housing”

Thanks to everyone who helped support the Penny for Housing, which Chapel Hill’s Town Council adopted tonight as part of its annual budget.

The Town’s fiscal year 2015 budget now includes $689,000 of general funds set aside to support affordable housing development and preservation, an amount equal to nearly one penny of the property tax rate.  Notably, Town Council and staff found these funds without needs to increase the property tax rate.  This is great news for making Chapel Hill a more diverse and inclusive community, and the members of the Orange County Affordable Housing Coalition are committed to helping the Town and its new Housing Advisory Board to spend the money wisely.

Thank you again to Town Council, Town staff, and the hundreds of supporters who signed onto our pledge to support the Penny for Housing.  Stay tuned to this website for more updates going forward.

Penny for Housing Video

Our partners at the Community Empowerment Fund and the Marian Cheek Jackson Center put together a great, inspiring video in support of the Penny for Housing.  Please take a look and share it around:
[vimeo 95736718 w=580 h=326]