Habitat Dedication Highlights Need for Affordable Housing in Durham

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by Jonathan Carlson, WNCN News

DURHAM, N.C. - A Durham family got a new home Sunday with the help of Habitat for Humanity.

"When habitat homeowners come into a neighborhood, it makes it more attractive for other developers to come in from behind and provide affordable housing for others," said Blake Strayhorn with Durham Habitat for Humanity.

Talk of affordable housing couldn't come at a more important time. Tuesday, local leaders will gather at city hall to discuss future transit plans and how it relates to affordable housing.

Triangle Transit is planning a 17-mile Durham to Chapel Hill light rail project, which would connect the two communities, with one goal being easier access to jobs for those without transportation.

However, some in the community are calling for affording housing to be built near those light rail stations.

Reaching the people in the most need is key, community advocates say. Many add, there is a lot of need in Durham.

"We estimate tens of thousands of Durham residents live in substandard housing," Strayhorn said.

Today however, DeWanda Allen is moving into a house that is anything but substandard.

"I have had a lot of house hurt," she said. She is just one example of Durham's effort to add affordable housing, but with the recognition that more is needed.

Habitat Success Stories

"Five years ago, a tree fell on my house and caused all but one room to leak. I used all my funds, so I called Habitat for Humanity, which helped me build a new roof. I've never experienced anything like this in my life, and I just want to thank everyone at Habitat. God bless you!" - Rita