Durham Tech to Build Affordable Housing Complex Near Campus :: WRAL.com

— Durham needs more than 16,000 affordable homes to meet the needs of households that currently spend more than 50% of their income on housing, according to a study by Durham Tech Community College and the City of Durham.

Durham Tech on Tuesday announced a $29 million project to help create an equitable community. The community college plans to build 124 affordable housing units at 902 South Briggs Avenue, directly across from campus.

“This is not a project. It’s about people,” said JB Buxton, president of Durham Tech. “It’s not about a series of buildings that we’re going to be able to build. These are basic human needs.”

In 2019, Durham passed a $95 million Affordable Housing Bond to address critical housing needs. Around the same time, Durham Tech executives brainstormed ways to offer solutions as well.

“Two years ago, Durham Tech set out to determine what it could do to be part of the solution to Durham’s affordable housing crisis,” Buxton said. “The council has identified a parcel of land we owned on South Briggs Avenue to locate an affordable housing community that we can use to serve our students and the wider community.”

Shima Earls said she was trying to both search for affordable housing while pursuing an education at Durham Tech.

“It was like going from house to house, trying to find a safe place for me and my children to stay,” she said.

A 2019 survey of more than 700 Durham Tech students by Temple University’s Hope Center for College Community and Justice found that more than 50% of students had experienced some form of housing insecurity the past year. previous year and nearly 20% reported being homeless for at least part of that time.

On average, it costs $1,455 per month to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Durham, which is unaffordable for most people working for minimum wage.

Earls said she was living in a condemned house at the time with her children, when finally one day she came to the Durham Tech office and asked for help.

“After living there and being abused every day, I finally went to the office and told them that I would rather live in my car than stay there,” she said.

The college helped her find permanent accommodation at McDougald Terrace on Lawson Street in Durham.

“Having affordable housing is so necessary for students and parents,” Earls said. “It’s like taking a weight off your shoulders, when you don’t have to worry about where you’re going to live, or if you’re going to be put in next month, or something like that.”

The college is developing a mix of one, two and three bedroom units for Durham students and residents. More than half of all apartments will have two bedrooms, about a quarter three bedrooms and 19% one bedroom.

“We see this as a critical part of building equitable housing communities and equitable development here,” Buxton said.

Two years ago, the Durham Tech Foundation formed Durham Tech Properties LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary, to help lead the project. Durham Tech Properties is partnered with Mosaic Development Group and Bank of America Community Development Company, who were selected through a competitive process to develop the site.

“It’s hard for people to go out and do great things if they don’t come from a safe and secure home. I think it’s almost impossible,” said Durham Tech graduate Sarah Poehlig.

Durham Tech will host a series of community engagement meetings to gather feedback on the project over the coming months. These dates and places will be announced on the Affordable Housing Initiative web page.

The goal is to open rental applications in the fall of 2024. Monthly unit costs have not yet been determined.

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