Local News

Housing Aid Could Be Budget Casualty

Posted May 9, 2001 10:26 a.m. EDT

— There are people in the Triangle who live in places that at first glance might seem unlivable. That is because sometimes it is tough to find a decent home at an affordable price. Depending on what happens with the state budget negotiations, it could get even harder.

When advocates for affordable housing met lawmakers face to face, in hopes of saving their program from the budget cutters axe, the lawmakers heard their chants loud and clear: "What do we want! Funding!"

"While we are cutting, fixing the budget, we must not leave our poor people who need housing,"says Senator Frank Ballance, D-Warren.

And who could use money from the Housing Trust Fund? Look no further than the home that Jacqueline Sanford lives in in Durham. Her house on Cherry Street has no air conditioning, no heat, lead paint, 52 city code building violations, and her landlord will not help. And with her income, making repairs are out of the question. .

"I paid $1,332.00 [to remedy the situation] and they accepted all that money, but I still got a letter saying I had to vacate by May 31st," Sanford says.

The State Department of Commmerce estimates there are 750,000 families in this state who cannot afford a safe, stable and suitable home. A third of them cannot even afford rent.

The $25,000,000 in proposed funding in the new budget is in jeopardy because of the budget crisis. And advocates heard that nothing short of hard-ball lobbying is acceptable.

"Stay on their backs; stay on their case; and then therefore we can comeback next year with victories rather than coming back every year talking about the same problems. They ain't getting no better. This year, we are going to make a difference," Representative Larry Womble, D-Forsyth, says, addressing the protestors.