I was pleased this week to answer the questions below for Congregations for Social Justice, an advocacy and education group made up from 40 communities of faith and nonprofits throughout Raleigh.
1 – What is your vision for mixed-income neighborhoods and economic diversity across Raleigh?
The strength of a community is in its diversity. In these times of increasing economic inequality it is more important than ever to foster familial bonds of everyday communication and harmony. When I visit Pullen Park I am always struck by the many generations, incomes and ethnicities. Parents bring their children to a setting of diversity and communal enjoyment. Raleigh must continue striving to build that spirit of community and harmony in every day life across the city with more mixed income neighborhoods.
2 – What plans do you have to make this happen?
The first step is to increase public awareness of why diversity is so important to the success of our city. That is why I have reached out to the Congregations for Social Justice to help lobby the City Council for a permanent Affordable Housing Advisory Board. That board can act as an independent source of advice to Council and City Staff in refining and implementing our new policy recommendations for affordable, mixed income and geographically diverse housing.
3 – What role will you play in increasing the number of affordable housing units in our city?
By the City Manager’s count, Raleigh has about 14,000 affordable units, but needs 40,000 units. The city’s current average production rate is about 137 units per year. On the day the city’s new Affordable Housing and Location policy documents were first presented to Council, my two fundamental questions were: (1) When will we set realistic production goals to meet our growing affordable housing needs and (2) When will we establish a reliable funding source to meet our production goals?
I will continue to work for the creation of a permanent Affordable Housing Advisory Board to help build support for affordable and mixed income housing production goals and reliable funding sources.