Over five thousand New Hanover County residents are in need of affordable housing assistance. This week, community leaders came together to discuss solutions at the Mayor’s Roundtable on Housing Affordability.
The roundtable’s panelists agree that a major barrier to bringing more affordable housing to Wilmington is the stigma surrounding the term, which many citizens equate with public housing.
New Hanover County Chairman Jonathan Barfield, Jr. says people need to be educated about what affordable housing really means:
"About a month ago before the Board of Commissioners came a planning item where we’re looking at a developer putting in what’s called affordable housing, but for the people that lived in that community, for them affordable housing meant, and I’m going to be very blunt with you, “Black people are coming to our community.” And at our planning board meeting, the racial undertones in that meeting were so thick and heavy that we had sheriff deputies in. They had to separate between individuals and the planning board director because folks didn’t want these people to come into their community. "
For housing to be considered affordable, the cost should be no more than 30% of the homeowner or renter’s income.