Penny for Housing

Affordable Housing is a Community Asset
Our community benefits from a range of housing–homes for teachers, health care workers, DSC03135police officers, service sector employees, people living on disability income, and others who we know, care about, and depend upon.  Yet many of these people cannot afford to live here.  If you agree that a range of housing is good for Chapel Hill, please support the Penny for Housing: ask Town Council to prioritize the budget so that a penny of the Town’s tax rate* goes toward creating and preserving affordable housing.

Our Friends and Colleagues Can’t Afford to Be Our Neighbors
Most people who live, work, play, or worship in Chapel Hill understand intuitively that it is an increasingly expensive place to live. Average prices here are typically the highest in the Triangle: the average sales price of a detached single-family home in town was $429,263 in 2012, and in 2013 the average rent for a 3-bedroom apartment was $1,301/month!  It is no surprise that only 18% of UNC Health Care employees live in Chapel Hill, along with just 22% of the Town of Chapel Hill’s workforce (down from 41% in 1995) and 36% of the University’s.  Similarly, less than half of the school system’s employees live in the district.  Having so many workers living outside of town hurts our community–e.g., congested roads and pollution, decreased socioeconomic and cultural diversity, and difficulty in getting critical workers in place during, for instance, inclement weather.

We Can Do Better
Affordable housing helps the community and the families who live in it–102_0216research demonstrates that affordable housing has positive effects on physical and mental health, educational attainment, and wealth building.  The Town has plans for creating and preserving affordable housing, but has invested few local resources to implement them.  The need is even greater given federal funds for affordable housing decreased ~40% since 2009.

Private developers help by building market rate housing for some of the groups listed above, and by contributing some affordable units and “Payments in Lieu”, but affordable housing often requires public-private partnership.  Non-profits like CASA, Community Home Trust, DHIC, EmPOWERment Inc., Habitat for Humanity, IFC, and Weaver Community Housing Association have proven their ability to build and repair homes, and manage rental property, when resources are made available.

We ask that the Town of Chapel Hill prioritize its budget so that a penny of the Town’s tax rate* goes toward creating and preserving affordable housing.  (Now is the time to speak up because the Town is in the midst of its budget season.) This Penny for Housing will be repaid many times over as it: leverages private funds to build and preserve housing, adds property to the tax rolls, and increases the diversity of our community.  Most importantly, it will help pay a social return by allowing more of our friends and colleagues to live in Chapel Hill.

How you can help:

1) Complete the form below to show your support for the Penny for Housing.  Your name will be added to a list that will be shared with elected officials.

2) Contact the Town Council and ask them to support the Penny for Housing.  Email them at, or speak in person at Council meetings.

3) Share this URL: 

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*This equals $35/year of the taxes paid by the owner of a home valued at $350,000, and totals roughly $750,000 annually town-wide.

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