Archive | Durham

Mayor’s Landlord Roundtable 2017

Contact: Janet Xiao
Tel: 919-797-9233
Email: janetx@communityef.org

Contact: Grace Mok
Tel: 516-499-0393
Email: gracem@communityef.org

MAYOR BILL BELL TO HOST THE 2017 MAYOR’S LANDLORD ROUNDTABLE

A community gathering regarding housing vouchers and affordable housing

Mayor Bill Bell will convene the 2017 Mayor’s Landlord Roundtable—the second annual gathering of landlords, Durham Housing Authority (DHA) leadership, non-profits and community members—to continue a discussion about housing vouchers and affordable housing in Durham.

The Roundtable will take place on July 11 from 10:00am to 11:30am at the Temple Building in downtown Durham. The event is organized by the Unlocking Doors Initiative—a partnership working toward affordable housing in Durham—and will be open to the public. An RSVP is preferred but not required. Over 130 people attended last year, including 48 landlords and property management companies and representatives from over 50 organizations.

A roundtable conversation with landlords and property managers on how the private sector can engage in affordable housing efforts will be the focal point of the event. After a short welcome from Mayor Bell, the Durham Housing Authority CEO Anthony Scott will provide an update on their progress since the 2016 Roundtable. The Unlocking Doors Initiative will also provide opportunities for landlords to create affordable housing partnerships with area nonprofit organizations.

The event will also be an opportunity for community members to learn about and show support for Housing Choice Vouchers. Previously known as Section 8 Vouchers, the program is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD describes the program as “the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market.” Vouchers are considered a tool to end homelessness and increase affordable housing opportunities.

The Roundtable takes place as Bell enters the end of his tenure as Durham’s mayor. It also takes place soon after the City awarded a $4 million grant to DHA to repurchase Fayette Place and after the Durham City Council approved an increase to the City’s dedicated housing fund. City Council and the four mayoral candidates Farad Ali, Pierce Freelon, Kershemia “Shea” Ramirez and Steve Schewel have received personal invitations to the event.

About the Unlocking Doors Initiative

The Unlocking Doors Initiative is a partnership initiative between local landlords and property managers, the Durham Housing Authority, and area non-profits. A main goal of the initiative is to increase landlord partnerships with tenants who are returning to permanent housing after a period of homelessness, using housing vouchers as a tool.
To learn more, visit www.unlockingdoorsdurham.org or email us at info@unlockingdoorsdurham.org.

Photographs from the 2016 Landlord Roundtable

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Healthcare Navigators at CEF

In partnership with Legal Aid of North Carolina, CEF hosted Healthcare Navigators in both our Durham office and CEF’s Orange Community Hub weekly in order to assess insurance options through the Healthcare Marketplace and provide targeted support in enrollment for CEF Members.

During the pilot of this partnership (open enrollment for 2017), 52 households were served, with 22 obtaining health insurance directly through the Marketplace and 12 choosing alternative insurance options. Meanwhile, 18 of the households filed hardship exemptions as they could not afford health insurance due in part to the state legislature of North Carolina choosing not to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act.

Affordable health insurance plays a key role in the financial stability of CEF’s Members by increasing access to preventive medicine and prescriptions, and by protecting gains in savings, credit, and well-being which could all be lost due to a medical emergency without insurance. CEF is grateful for the partnership of this amazing team of Healthcare Navigators, and proud that the results of our collaboration increased access to this critical resource for CEF Members!

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Annual Report 2016 : Transformative Community

“We share these stories, and are reminded just how profound it is to be a part CEF. We share them with gratitude for the whole wide CEF family—Members, Advocates, supporters, and friends. Thank you for reading, writing, and living this story with us!”

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CEF First-Time Homebuyers!

“I was able to pay off over $5,000 in credit card debt, raised my credit score almost 80 points, maintain a safety net savings account and purchase my first home! Thank you all for your support!”

CEF matched savings accounts now support Members in reaching goals all along the continuum from homelessness to homeownership. We launched a new program in 2016 to support first-time homebuyers with Reinvestment Partners and the Duke Homebuyers Club.

Paige was one of the first 5 CEF Members to successfully purchase their own home during the first year of this collaborative program!

Paige worked incredibly hard and with amazing focus to reach her goal in just ten months. She worked extra jobs in addition to her full-time job at Duke. She participated in CEF’s Financial Coaching, meeting regularly with Donna Carrington (CEF’s Housing Stabilization Specialist) and sharing, “Donna was a great motivator and kept me on track with my financial goals.” Paige was able to pay off debts and improve her credit score, which qualified her for an affordable mortgage. Meanwhile, she successfully saved for her down payment and closing costs, receiving a dollar-for-dollar match from CEF!

Paige is proud to be a homeowner. One of the best parts? Her mortgage payment is actually cheaper than her rent payments were, and she is building an asset for the long term.

CEF is supporting this pilot program for first-time homebuyers in Durham in collaboration with Reinvestment Partners, the Duke Homebuyers Club, and the Duke University Office of Durham & Regional Affairs. The Homebuyers Club partnership brings together incredible resources for the participants, including homebuyer education and credit assessment through Reinvestment Partners, and a wide array of community experts through Duke’s partnerships, including attorneys, appraisers, and credit unions.

Meanwhile, CEF provides our one-on-one financial coaching so that participants like Paige can take action steps in building credit, budgeting to reach their goals, and accessing resources. In just the first year of this pilot collaboration, we have seen amazing results.

Since the Homebuyers Savings program began, results from April 2016 – April 2017 include:

  • Pilot participants have built $16,864 in savings towards the purchase of their first homes.
  • 5 of the first 9 members have already bought their homes, with the remaining participants well on their way towards achieving their goal within the 18-month pilot period!
  • Members are saving on average $144 each per month
  • 67 one-on-one coaching sessions completed with members in 1 year
  • 85% of program participants are women
  • 100% of program participants are people of color
  • Thus far, mortgage payments for these homebuyers are less expensive than their monthly rent payments were previously.
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When Gentrification Arrives At Your Door

John Miller and Advocate Audrey Boyles celebrate a successful moving day in 2012.

The following is a guest post by Durham resident and CEF Member, John Miller, who is an avid writer and advocate at www.blindtravel.net/ , where this post was originally published.

When Gentrification Arrives At Your Door

Or renovation. Rapid re-creation of a whole neighborhood. Call it what you want, the effects are the same.

We’ve all read the stories. Person, hard working, toward the lower end of the economic ladder, suddenly finds him or herself homeless. As we read this, we sit back and wonder to ourselves how this could have happened so quickly. Well I would venture to say that our current rental structure can contribute.

I have resided in my current large community here just northwest of downtown Durham for over four years. Each year, the costs have increased by about 20 to 30 dollars. Not too bad, right?

Except this year, they’re gonna hit me with the haymaker! They have been engaged in a steady process to re-design all of these older units to make them trendier, and probably more amenable to modern appliances. And let’s call it what it is, more expensive.

I get it. Located close to two medical facilities, Duke Hospital and the VA Medical Center, as well as that major university within easy walking distance, there is lots of money to be made in this area. And as guardians of the community (however all that internal stuff works), they have a responsibility to get that money flowing into their coffers if at all possible.

But what are those of us who are barely hanging on supposed to do? It’s a question I probably ask at least once a year, and every year it becomes demonstrably worse. Affordable housing is simply disappearing, and especially from places that need it the most for instance near said medical facilities and along transit lines. An example of this need? I have (had? well I think she’s still here somehow) a neighbor who moved into her apartment and lived there for 25 years so that she could have easy access to Duke Hospital in the event of somewhat regular heart emergencies. My guess is she has some kind of special dispensation that will allow her to remain there for as long as she pleases.

Certainly other than that though, I have noticed that this place has become a lot quieter. Most folks started packing up and moving out a good while ago, and my guess is it will be a while before the upper incomers start trickling in, once all of the reconstruction work has been completed.

As for me, this is not a tremendous deal. This is because I would have been moving on by January anyway, so that I can begin life as a married man. To transfer for the six or seven-month gap between now and then (I must depart by June 24th,) I have to pay these fine folks an additional $330 a month. That is a sixty (60!) percent increase, and would mean I would be living a lot closer to significant disaster due to any unexpected occurrence than I wish to experience. It seems silly though to relocate to some entirely unfamiliar venue for such a short period, and even if I decide to do that I am not sure where that would be as most of Durham, the Bull City’s prices have crept in that general direction. In any event, I have a couple of weeks to figure this out, on top of possible needs for other employment, grad school, and other general living interests. Chaotic, to say the least. But, it’ll all work out somehow because it has to. Wish me well.

Read the update to John’s apartment situation on his blog in his latest post: http://www.blindtravel.net/on-rites-of-passage-20-years-since-high-school-and-apartment-follow-up/

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