By Maddy Jones, Communications Coordinator
Every year Habitat staff, board members and homeowners from affiliates all across North Carolina descend on Raleigh to participate in a Legislative Day. This year, roughly 30 Habitat representatives, including myself and future Asheville Habitat homeowner Staci Williams, spent Monday June 18th learning about affordable housing policy. We spent that blazing Monday afternoon in the cool, air-conditioned comfort of First Baptist Church in Raleigh listening to policy and political advice, wisdom, and knowledge from Republican Senator Jeff Tarte, lobbyists, the NC Housing Coalition, and Habitat International’s Government Relations team. The next day, Staci and I hit the Legislative Buildings and met with Representative Susan Fisher. Staci ran the show- describing her journey, her three wonderful children, and her excitement of closing on her home in August.
Although this year’s budget was already passed, this was a great opportunity to build on Asheville Habitat’s relationships with elected officials representing Western North Carolina. With 12,000 Buncombe County households (7,000 renters and 5,000 homeowners, ACS 2016) currently paying more than 50% of income on housing, the need for affordable housing continues to grow. At Habitat, we know we cannot out build the problem, so advocating for greater affordable housing support and solutions is crucial. It’s important to support increased funding to the state’s Housing Trust Fund that provides a flexible pot of money for not just Habitats across the state, but to be used for affordable rental opportunities, emergency response funds, repairs, and more. Asheville Habitat, along with other Habitats across the state, will continue to build relationships and advocate for affordable housing policies.