We are launching a new one-year fellowship program focused on local housing access and advocacy! Beginning in July 2018, two Housing Justice Fellows (each with four years of Advocate and volunteer leadership experience at CEF) will begin working in our offices to launch new initiatives that directly meet the felt needs and opportunities in our Durham and Orange County communities.
What is the vision for each Housing Justice Fellow?
to develop CEF Members’ capabilities to lead in local affordable housing and anti-poverty advocacy
- Supporting Member engagement in policy-making and advocacy to build political power in decision-making
- Deepening relationships with local advocacy partners
- Developing creative pathways for Member ownership and leadership within CEF
- Cultivating leadership within CEF to sustain this work for coming years
This fellowship will drive participation of Members in local policy and systems leadership, whose personal stories and wisdom have a transformative impact on policy-making and political dialogue.
In Chapel Hill
to develop and pilot an initiative with partners to collaboratively increase housing opportunities
- Recruiting and growing relationships with landlord partners
- Working together with Members, Advocates, and collaborative programs to successfully secure stable housing for Members
- Engaging in housing advocacy & Member organizing initiatives in Orange County
- Crafting infrastructure and securing support to sustain this work for coming years
This fellowship will act as a force multiplier, collaborating with staff from 5+ housing programs across Orange County to jointly support sustained landlord relationships and successfully house program participants.
Who are the inaugural Housing Justice Fellows?
The two Fellowship positions have been crafted both with the felt needs of our two communities at heart, and the distinct gifts of two of our graduating Advocates in mind. Liz Brown and Leah Whitehead both have four years of experience as volunteer leaders with CEF, and will be able to hit the ground running on these catalytic initiatives.
Why Housing Justice?
Housing is one of the most complex pieces of the puzzle in the array of services that CEF helps Members to navigate. Rental housing costs have risen dramatically in Orange and Durham Counties over recent years, causing large-scale displacement of lower-income households and increased challenges in housing placement for individuals transitioning out of homelessness. In Orange County, 90% of renter households who earn less than $35,000 are cost-burdened, ie. spending an unaffordable proportion (more than 30%) of their income on housing. In Durham, for every 100 extremely low-income renter households, only 38 rental units are affordable to them. We know that systemic change is necessary and that we must take a long-view approach to opening up opportunities for CEF Members.
CEF has been an active leader in local systems advocacy and service coordination to address the mounting housing crisis, including everything from pursuing cultural organizing through our locally-famous Advocacy Choir, to anchoring a public-private city-wide initiative to increase housing opportunities for voucher-holders. CEF is strategically situated to effect community-level change alongside our direct efforts for change with individual Members. We have collaboratively built momentum and partnerships in affordable housing advocacy over recent years, and have an opportunity to lean into deeper, impactful responses to community needs through the work of these two Fellows.