Local News

As costs soar, long-time Raleighites ask for help to keep their homes

On Tuesday night, the council will consider approving a $30 million annual action plan for housing. $1.6 million of that would help low-income homeowners citywide pay for necessary repairs.
Posted 2023-04-04T21:12:28+00:00 - Updated 2023-04-04T23:59:19+00:00

A group of homeowners in Raleigh is calling on the city council to commit millions of dollars to help people afford to stay in their homes.

On Tuesday night, the council will consider approving a $30 million annual action plan for housing. $1.6 million of that would help low income homeowners citywide pay for necessary repairs.

That action plan says roughly 30 percent (29.5 percent) of households in the city are burdened by housing costs.

Dozens of members of the group One Wake plan to attend. They're asking city council for some relief.

Vicki Hewitt-McNeil is the only one of her siblings to stay in their hometown.

"I’ve lived in Raleigh for 66 years," she said. "I was born in St. Agnes Hospital."

The last few years, she's seen rising costs force families she grew up with to sell their homes and leave the city.

"It’s one of the most disappointing things in the world, because so many people worked so hard for their homes," Hewitt-McNeil said.

Raleigh's Annual Action Plan for housing says that 64,335 households in the city are cost-burdened or severely cost-burdened. That means they spend more than 30 percent of their monthly income on housing costs.

"People are losing out on the ability to live in a community," Hewitt-McNeil said.

That's why Hewitt-McNeil is working with the group One Wake. They're asking Raleigh city council to increase funding for programs to help lower-income homeowners cover the cost of repairs or pay utility bills since rate hikes are proposed.

Wake County commissioners have already committed $5 million for similar programs.

"We see an excessive amount of need in the community for these kinds of programs," said Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria.

The county programs will include forgivable loans for major home repairs, funding to build affordable homes, and an expansion of utility assistance.

"What we are trying to do is put together a set of programs that help low-income and struggling homeowners get through some of the most difficult times and transitions in their lives," Calabria said.

The county's housing programs are in the upcoming budget, which commissioners will vote on in June. Additionally, Raleigh is building its budget for the next year.