52 Leaders Attend Packed Raleigh City Council Meeting

See press coverage here

Leaders from ONE Wake's homeowner team and dozens of supporters turned out to a packed Raleigh City Council meeting on April 4 to celebrate progress and to call for additional investment in our priorities.

The meeting was a healthy public demonstration of civic life in Raleigh. Our 52 leaders were squeezed in alongside hundreds who had turned out to make their voices heard for the Shaw University rezoning, and to speak on the city's "missing middle" policies.

Given the attention on other items it would have been easy to forget that tens of millions are at stake for much needed affordable housing investment in the city. It is a good thing we were there!

For the last 18 months, ONE Wake has supported a campaign led by long time homeowners to prevent the loss of their homes and their neighbors homes due to rising housing cost burden. Housing cost burden is a term that refers to homeowners or tenants who are paying more than 30% of their incomes on housing costs, including: mortgage/rent; insurance; taxes; utilities; and emergency repairs. 

Currently our campaign is focused on winning increased funds from the City of Raleigh in two areas to address this issue: emergency home repairs and utility assistance. ONE Wake has also secured a commitment from the Wake County Board of Commissioners to invest $5 million in the same priorities.

At the Council meeting ONE Wake leaders celebrated progress with the City of Raleigh. The City's proposed 23/24 fiscal year budget for the Housing and Neighborhoods Department reflects a total of $2,894,000 budgeted for homeowner rehab programs, an increase over last year that includes $1,620,000 in new resources. We also learned that the City is proposing to earmark $6 million total from the remaining affordable housing bond funds to support this increase over the next five years.

This is good progress! However, it is unclear whether the City's budget will also reflect an increase in funds for utility assistance. This is a crucial area in need of new investment as well. Duke Energy has proposed a 16% rate hike for energy, while Raleigh Water has requested a 3.5% increase. Increased utility assistance will allow more low income homeowners to afford to stay in their homes, preserving the integrity of their neighborhood, as well as allowing them to pass down their wealth for future generations.

It was a late night! THANK YOU for all who attended, and to those who tried to attend but were turned away due to the crowd.